Wrong policies of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, rampant corruption among its Ministers and bad governance are responsible for price rise in the country, said Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari, while addressing an anti-price rise rally at the Ramlila grounds here on Wednesday.
The rally, the first under the leadership of Mr. Gadkari, was one of the largest by the party in Delhi and brought together the entire leadership in a show of strength.
Mr. Gadkari claimed the Congress-led government had not been able to give anything to the country. “Today we are facing spiralling prices of essential commodities, witnessing a large number of suicides by farmers and rampant corruption. The common man is baffled by the high cost of living and the Central government hasn't been able to do anything about the situation despite several promises.”
The BJP president lambasted the government for the rise in the number of the poor. “The number of poor are increasing in the country. While the world economy has been hit by inflation, India seems to be the worst affected,” he said, adding that so far, no Congress leader had given a convincing answer on the issue.
The large crowds occasionally raised slogans: “mehngai se ladna hai, Sansad chalna hai” (We have to fight inflation, march to Parliament) and “mehnat ki kamai kha gai mahngai” (High prices have eaten the fruits of labour). The party colour was spread all over in the form of banners, posters, hoardings and flags.
Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said: “food prices in India have risen by as much as 20 per cent over the past year. We want to tell the government that if it can't bring the prices down it should quit.”
“Price rise in India is not an outcome of any natural calamity, it is the outcome of the wrong policies of the government. The cost of pulses, milk, sugar, wheat, rice and vegetables have gone up sharply, making it difficult for the common man to maintain a decent standard of living.”
Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani said: “The rich are becoming richer, while the middle class and the poor can't cope with the rising prices. Rising corruption among the Central government leadership is one of the main reasons why the government is unable to keep a check on the prices. This rally is a warning to the Central government, if it is unable to curb price rise, it should quit.”
Senior leaders Rajnath Singh, Murli Manohar, Venkaiah Naidu and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley were among those present.
Following the rally, the senior leaders boarded a “rath” for proceeding towards Parliament as the second part of the protest. However, having been under the sun for over two hours, Mr. Advani, Dr. Joshi, Mr. Jaitley, Mr. Singh and Vasundhara Raje were not able to go very far on the rath, which was repeatedly stopped by the police to keep the crowds under control.
Mr. Gadkari fainted while heading towards Parliament to court arrest. After he was revived by colleagues, party leaders decided to whisk him away in a car.
Soon after this, Mr. Advani, Dr. Joshi and Mr. Jaitley also got off the rath and left in their cars. Later, party national general-secretary Vijay Goel and S.S. Ahluwalia led the rath all the way to the Parliament Street police station, where the party leaders and workers courted arrest.