Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh was arrested on Tuesday while staging a dharna at the busy Hazratganj crossing here against price rise and corruption. Hundreds of party supporters were also arrested.

The police resorted to lathi charge to disperse SP workers, who raised anti-Mayawati government slogans. Some party workers were injured in the baton charge.

A senior police officer said Mr. Singh was taken into preventive custody. He was taken to the Reserve Police Lines here and released later.

At a press conference at the party headquarters after his release, Mr. Singh said the Bahujan Samaj Party government had employed all coercive methods to crush the agitation. He accused Chief Minister Mayawati of having indulged in large-scale corruption.

Hundreds of SP workers courted arrest elsewhere in the State.While the agitation in Kanpur was led by SP State president Akhilesh Singh, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Shivpal Singh Yadav led the demonstration in Bareilly. SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav spearheaded the stir in Etawah, while Leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Parishad Ahmed Hasan led the agitation and courted arrest in Moradabad.

Mr. Mulayam Singh’s residence and the party headquarters on Vikramaditya Marg were cordoned off. Barricades were put up to thwart the movement of SP workers towards the District Collectorate.

On Tuesday, Mr. Mulayam Singh emerged from his residence in his motorcade, which sped past the party office and moved at great speed towards the Raj Bhavan, taking the lathi-wielding security personnel by surprise. As barricades were erected on the crossing leading to the Raj Bhavan, he took a detour and reached the Allahabad Bank crossing in the posh Hazratganj area via Gautam Palli.

He sat on a dharna at the crossing even as policemen and commandos threw a dragnet around him. SP supporters were lathi charged by the police. Mr. Mulayam Singh’s dharna continued for about 45 minutes following which he was arrested.

As the SP workers chanted anti-government slogans, Mr. Singh climbed a roadways bus, before being taken to the Police Lines with two other buses full of SP supporters.

We maintained law and order: government

The U.P. government said on Tuesday that it maintained law and order in the State despite the Samajwadi Party’s agitation.

Additional Cabinet Secretary Vijay Shankar Pandey told journalists here that it was due to the prohibitory measures taken that there was no infringement of law and order.

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