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Oppn closes ranks on Maya,goes for the kill

The police used lathicharge,water cannons and tear gas as an united opposition put up a series of protests — the biggest since Mayawati came to power...

The police used lathicharge,water cannons and tear gas as an united opposition put up a series of protests — the biggest since Mayawati came to power — against the alleged extortion of money and deteriorating law and order under the BSP regime in Lucknow on Thursday.

The Opposition parties — Samajwadi Party (SP),Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),Congress,Rashtriya Lok Dal,Lok Janshakti Party and Indian Justice Party — gave different names to their agitation programmes to protest the Chief Minister’s 53rd birthday.

The SP activists were the worst sufferers in the police action. Many were brutally beaten up and sustained injuries as they fought pitched battles with the police at the Vidhan Sabha Marg and near the SP party office.

Over three dozen SP workers,including legislators Banwari Lal Kanchal and Bhagwati Singh,were injured in the lathicharge when they tried to burn effigies of the chief minister at several places. Two SP leaders,Anand Bhaduria and Sunil Yadav,received multiple injuries during the lathicharge in front of the Vidhan Bhawan.

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The SP leaders — Amar Singh,Jaya Bachchan and Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari — were not allowed to come out of the Gorakhpur airport,and eventually flew back to Delhi after putting up at the VIP lounge for around three hours. The Congress,on the other hand,managed to get away with just bursts of water cannon while the women from the BJP,who staged mock mourning to protest against the rising insecurity among people,were easily managed by the police.

According to Home Secretary Javeed Ahmed,4,009 protestors were arrested across the state,with a majority from the SP. The Congress workers,led by AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi,gathered at Shaheed Smarak and then started marching towards the Vidhan Sabha. After breaking two police barriers,they courted arrest near Sahkarita Bhawan in Hazratganj.

Later,they submitted a chargesheet to the Governor against the government’s misdeeds. A party spokesman said two of their workers were injured in the police action.

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The women’s wing of the BJP,led by former MLA Premlata Katiyar and MLA Sheema Rizvi,marched from the party office opposite the Vidhan Sabha to Raj Bhawan,shouting slogans against Mayawati. They were stopped near the GPO,detained briefly and were then let off. They were demanding a CBI probe into the murder of Auraiya PWD executive engineer M K Gupta and the extortion under the present regime.

BSP has a free run
While the Opposition were dealt with lathis and water cannons,BSP workers virtually took over the Lucknow Collector’s office to organise their protest against the Opposition parties,who,they maintained,were trying to defame Chief Minister Mayawati.

Right from the building to the gate to its boundary wall — everything at the site were marred with BSP symbols. A new,large blue gate was erected at the main entrance. With the building full of BSP workers,the front doors were closed and the employees had to use the rear doors. PWD Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Rajya Sabha member Akhilesh Das addressed the workers.

First published on: 16-01-2009 at 02:34:31 am
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