BJP LEADERS’ call for an indefinite dharna — demanding an FIR against Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu for allegedly making an inflammatory statement in Delhi recently — fell flat on day one itself when they had to lift their dharna prematurely as it triggered a traffic nightmare Monday. Ludhiana district’s BJP president Pushpinder Singal announced that from Tuesday onwards, the dharna would be shifted to outside the police commissioner’s office.
BJP has been claiming that Bittu, in a media statement, had said that the ongoing farmers’ protest will not end “and to achieve our objective we can even pile up bodies, shed blood and go to any extent”.
BJP’s Ludhiana unit had planned indefinite dharna (for three hours daily) against Bittu in the Clock Tower area, a busy part of the city. Since 7 am, police had done double-barricading of the area where the dharna was to start at 12.30 pm. As a result, traffic came to a standstill and otherwise busy markets like Chaura Bazar, Mata Rani Chowk etc had low footfall. A number of shopkeepers could not even reach their shops because of the barricading.
BJP blamed Ludhiana police and the Congress state government. “Dharna by BJP started at around 12.30 pm and due to the inconvenience to shopkeepers, the district leadership decided to lift Monday’s dharna by 1 pm itself though it was to continue till 3 pm. It was done intentionally by police at the behest of Congress leaders as they got all shops of the area closed, due to which we had to lift the dharna as we didn’t want to create any inconvenience to the masses,” said Pushpinder Singhal, president, BJP Ludhiana unit.
However, local police said that double-barricading is being done near every BJP venue in the state so as to ensure their safety.
The BJP leadership had recently visited Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta as well as Governor V P Singh Badnore citing the law and order situation. They had alleged that they were not being allowed to organise protests by Congress while local police was supporting the state government. Barricading was also done by cops in Moga and Sangrur as well on Sunday to allow BJP president Ashwani Sharma reach the venue for party meetings.
Reacting to Monday’s incident, Ludhiana BJP leader Ram Gupta said it was done intentionally to get the dharna lifted. “We cannot organise a dharna by getting shops of beoparis closed. Hence we decided to lift the dharna from Clock Tower and will be organising dharna at police commissioner’s office now,” said Singhal.
Meanwhile, Ashwani Sharma announced on Monday that a chain protest dharna will be organised by BJP in Ludhiana till FIR against Bittu is lodged.
Ludhiana BJP had submitted a complaint to Ludhiana police commissioner on December 30 against him, but no FIR has been lodged till date in the state. One FIR against him has been registered at Delhi.
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