A resurgent BJP made a splash of its strength holding a massive anti-price rise, anti-UPA rally in the national capital. Lakhs of BJP workers from all parts of the country swarmed the streets of Delhi, choking the city traffic and registering the anger of the public against the total failure of the central government to control prices.
The success of the rally enthused both the leaders and the workers alike The renewed assertion of the BJP’s mass mobilisation capacity sent a loud and clear political message. That under the leadership of the new party chief Nitin Gadkari, the BJP was on a comeback mission. The participation of large number of farmers, Vanvasis and women in the rally came as a big surprise to the BJP detractors who were claiming that mobilising a respectable crowd on an issue like price rise was not an easy task.
But the BJP has effectively highlighted the people’s anger over rising prices of essential commodities. Over two lakh workers took part in the public rally at the historic Ramlila Grounds and the march to Parliament to register their protest against the Congress-led central government’s inability to control prices.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Marg and Asaf Ali Road on the either side of Ramlila Grounds starting from Delhi Gate to Ajmeri Gate roundabout were overflowing with people waving BJP flags and shouting slogans: Sonia-Manmohan ki jodi, logon ki kamar todi and Sonia jiski mummy hai, woh sarkar nikammi hai.
The BJP top brass, including party president Nitin Gadkari and party veteran LK Advani, took the UPA government to task for rising prices.
Launching a scathing attack on the government’s policies, Gadkari said, “The price rise is the result of bad governance and wrong policies of the government. It has failed to curb corruption and black marketing.” The BJP president said despite being led by an economist, the government’s wrong policies have hit hard the people of the country. Making a departure from the party’s usual practice, Advani spoke at the rally ahead of the BJP president.
Improved weather conditions made the task easier for the organisers, who feared a low turnout on account of the rising temperature. The procession from Ramlila Grounds to Jantar Mantar was moving at a snail’s pace.
It took over 45 minutes to cover a distance of 300 m, from signal at Ramlila Grounds to Guru Nanak Eye Hospital.
The BJP leaders repeatedly urged their supporters to be disciplined and not to resist the police personnel when they tried to arrest them. Even after the rally was over, workers continued to mob their leaders.
Some activists even climbed the dais to take photos with leaders. Shops around the Ramlila Grounds and Jantar Mantar made full advantage of the opportunity and charged extra for bottles of cold drink or water.
Earlier, former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani attacked the Congress saying the poor policies reflct the quality of governance.
“The rich in the country are becoming richer while the condition of the poor is deteriorating,” he said. The veteran leader said corruption by certain central ministers was responsible for the foodgrain crisis and price rise. Advani also praised the new party president for organising a successful rally and expressed confidence that the party would achieve success under his leadership.
Endorsing Advani’s views, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj said the economic policies of the government are ineffective and aimed to benefit the black marketers. “The price rise is not because of any natural calamity or economic slowdown. The price rise is due to scams,” said Sushma. She rubbished the government’s claims that prices shot up because of increased minimum support price and global meltdown.
Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said, “The agriculture and rural sectors have been destroyed and the prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing.” Former party president Rajnath Singh said the government had promised poverty would be eliminated, but the population of poor is increasing day-by-day.
Speaking on the occasion, former Union Minister and senior leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi said only the BJP is capable of providing an efficient government. He blamed the Congress for the price rise saying whenever there was a Congress-led government at the Centre, the people faced economic hardships. He warned that if the government failed to curb inflation, the BJP would mobilise people for a movement and topple the inefficient government.
The CMs of the BJP-ruled states—Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (Uttarakhand) and Deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi — also addressed the mammoth gathering. Former party president M Venkaiah Naidu, deputy leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde, SS Ahluwalia, Vasundhara Raje, Kalraj Mishra, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Delhi BJP president OP Kohli and former MCD standing council chairman Vijender Gupta also attended the meeting.