Opposition parties stage protests across the country against UPA Govt.'s policies

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New Delhi/ Patna/ Lucknow/ Pune/Kolkata, July 5 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance and Left Front on Monday staged protests at different places across the country to criticise the Congress-led Government at the Centre for its policies that have led to a steep hike in prices of petroleum products.

The Opposition parties today called a 12-hour nationwide shutdown to draw Government attention towards general public's plight.

Life was thrown out of gear in Bihar, Gujarat, Orissa, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh, while it was a shutdown in Left-ruled West Bengal and Kerala. There was also a disruption of road and rail traffic.

At a rally in the national capital, the BJP along with other NDA leaders blamed the Central Government's wrong policies for high inflation.argeting Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav today said the real name of Dr Singh is 'Mehangai' (Inflation) Mohan Singh.

"He is not Manmohan Singh rather his real name is 'Mehngai' (Inflation) Mohan Singh. Stop the price rise or leave the chair, otherwise every corner of the country will rise against the government. We will not let this issue die down," said Yadav. BJP President Nitin Gadkari also slammed the Congress-led Government for its failure to control the rising inflation.

"Congress party gave the slogan that Sonia has come with a new light. That light never came, whatever was there also died down. The Congress party has promised the people of the nation that they will decrease inflation within 100 days, but instead of decreasing the inflation has gone up 3 to 4 times," said Gadkari. Gadkari claimed Monday's shutdown was successful and thanked the party workers for it.

Earlier on Monday, the shutdown gained momentum in different cities with senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Lalji Tandon, Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Rajnath Singh courting arrest.

In Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow city, the police arrested Jaitley, Naqvi and Tandon this morning, while they were taking out a procession in support of the nationwide shutdown.

Gadkari courted arrest along with Rajnath Singh in New Delhi's Chandni Chowk area, while BJP General Secretary Gopinath Munde courted arrest during a procession in Mumbai.

In Patna, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad courted arrest here today. He accused Dr. Singh of giving patronage to middlemen and brokers, who, in fact he said, were responsible for the unchecked price rise.

The Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Telugu Desam Party, Shiv Sena, AIADMK, MDMK and Akali Dal also took part in the shutdown.

Violent protests were being witnessed in several cities including the national capital, Lucknow, Agra, Patna and Mumbai.

In New Delhi, most of the markets remained closed due to it being a Monday. However, buses, autos and private vehicles were on roads since morning.

However, Metro commuters faced some hardships as BJP workers organised protests at some stations, including the busy Rajiv Chowk.

Services at the Inter-State Bus Terminals at Anand Vihar and Kashmere Gate here were also affected during the morning hours with BJP workers blocking its entrances.

BJP workers blocked traffic at Laxmi Nagar, ITO, Preet Vihar, Akshardham and Madhuban Chowk among other areas at around 9 am. Some BJP workers also stopped a Metro train at Karol Bagh station.

The BJP protestors in New Delhi also stopped trains at Nangloi, Shakur Basti and Badli railway stations.

In Lucknow, Samajwadi Party workers went on a rampage outside BJP headquarters, clashing with police and attempting to break the security cordon leading police to batoncharging to disperse the stone-pelting crowds. Police made a number of arrests.

In Kolkata, private airlines shut down operations in the wake of the bandh.

Violent incidents were also reported from Maharashtra, where Shiv Sainiks went on a rampage in several areas.

At least 15 buses were vandalised in Pune, and 100 BJP workers led by Kirit Somaya were arrested for blocking train services in Mumbai.

At least 84 flights to and from Mumbai were also cancelled.

In Bangalore, all buses and autos stayed off the road.

In Uttar Pradesh, train services were affected in Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi and other parts of the state.

At least 10 express trains were stopped in Patna, while all buses and autos stayed off the roads in Bihar.

Several IT firms closed shop in Bangalore as a precautionary measure.he protesters are demanding a roll back in the Government's move to decontrol petrol and diesel prices, as also the fuel price hike across the board made by the Government in the last week of June.

The Union government had raised petrol and diesel prices on June 25, as part of a plan to move towards a market-determined fuel price regimen in accordance with the Kirit Parikh Committee recommendation.

Following the decision price of petrol has been raised by Rs. 3.73 per litre and diesel by Rs. 2.

The fuel price rises are expected to push up monthly price inflation by 0.9 percentage points, exacerbating inflation that stood at a surprisingly high 10.16 percent in May. (ANI)

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