The protesters also burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to register their anger against the decision

A large number of Bharatiya Janata Party activists courted arrest here on Saturday when they were prevented by the police from marching towards the Prime Minister’s residence during a protest demonstration against the latest fuel price hike and the Centre’s decision to allow foreign direct investment in retail.

The protesters, led by Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta, termed the fuel price hike and permission for FDI in retail as anti-people decisions of the Congress. Raising slogans and holding aloft placards calling for a withdrawal of the fuel price hike and criticised the senior Congress leaders for their role in financially burdening the masses.

The protesters also burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to register their anger against the decision. They then broke through several police cordons near the Parliament Street police station before finally giving themselves up and courting arrest.

Earlier, addressing the protesters senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said the three oil companies and gas companies were earning huge profits running into thousands of crores and yet the

Government has hiked the price of cooking gas and diesel.

Mr. Naidu also displayed some documents, he claimed were from the Committee on Petroleum Affairs as proof of his charge. “Now this Government must go,” he then said.

As for the permission to FDI in multi-brand retail, Mr. Naidu expressed fear that this would ruin the entire trade in India. “Trade in this country will come under the control of multinational companies and even the farmers of the country shall not remain unaffected due to the FDI,” he said.

The Delhi BJP president for his part said people have been hit hard by the price spiral and corruption of the Central Government. “Oil and gas companies are earning heavy profits and while the price of crude oil and gas is stable in the global market, Dr. Singh, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy and the Committee on Petroleum Affairs have still decided to increase the price of diesel and cooking gas,” he said.

Claiming that this would have an adverse impact on the entire population of the country, Mr. Gupta said the time has come for the people to dislodge the Congress Government.

Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly. Vijay Kumar Malhotra charged that the intentions of Manmohan Singh Government at the Centre and Sheila Dikshit Government in Delhi were “dangerous as they are repeatedly taking decisions which make the common man suffer”.

BJP national general secretary Vijay Goel appealed to the party workers to visit every household of Delhi and finalise the agenda for the ouster of the Congress Governments.

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