The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched a stir against the hike in bus fares by travelling without tickets on KSRTC buses here on Thursday.
The police arrested party State president V. Muraleedharan and other State leaders who refused to buy tickets after boarding a bus to Kalpetta. BJP leaders P.K. Krishnandas, A.N. Radhakrishnan, K. Surendran, K.P. Sreesan, A.P. Padmini, P.M. Velayudhan, B.K. Sekhar, Sobha Surendran and George Kurian were among those who boarded the bus from the Thampanoor bus station.
Earlier, addressing the media, the State president said the party was resorting to violation of the law because other means of protests had been exhausted. The meeting of the office bearers of the party here on Thursday had decided to launch the stir.
The announcement of revised fares by the government was a declaration of war against the people in liaison with the bus owners. The fare revision had been decided much earlier, and the hike in diesel prices was not the reason for the hike.
Mr. Muraleedharan demanded that the State should forego increased tax revenues resulting from the hike in prices of petrol and diesel.
He said the BJP would organise marches in the panchayats from March 20 to April 20 as a prelude to the Parliamentary march on April 21 against price rise. The party held the Central government as primarily responsible for the price rise and a mass petition would be submitted to the President. The signatures for the petition would be collected from all districts on March 26. A signature campaign would be organised in public places on April 6.
He said a special meeting of the State and district level office bearers would be held here on March 17 and 18 to discuss preparations for the panchayat elections. The party planned to increase its representation in the local self government in the forthcoming election.
He said the office bearers, remaining to be nominated at the State level including morcha presidents, would be named shortly.