A day after the nationwide bandh sponsored by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left against the fuel price hike, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) staged a protest at all the district headquarters in Uttar Pradesh and accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for making the life of the common man more miserable.

The BSP's state-wide dharna and demonstration programme against fuel price hike on Tuesday was described as a “resounding success” by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and party president Mayawati.

Ms. Mayawati though did not participate in the protest programme or conduct an aerial survey in going with past practice. Her assessment was based on the reports of observers, who were commissioned by her for obtaining a correct feedback of the State-wide demonstration. Ms. Mayawati claimed that the BSP's protest programme was supported by the people.

Coming down heavily on the Central Government, the UP Chief Minister blamed the Centre for the inflation and said the increase in the prices of diesel, petrol, kerosene and LPG cylinders has been made to benefit oil companies. The misery and plight of the common man does not figure in the UPA Government's scheme of things, Ms. Mayawati said in a Press release.

Instead of decontrolling the petrol prices and reducing the subsidy on LPG cylinders, taxes on petro products should have been reduced by the UPA Government, she added. Ms. Mayawati said the Central Government was responsible for the unprecedented increase in the prices of foodgrains and essential commodities.

The 18 per cent inflation rate of foodgrains was attributed to the ineptness and anti-poor policies of the UPA Government following which the price scenario has become a national problem.

“The Central Government lacked the political will to control inflation,” Ms. Mayawati said. The BSP president added that the prices have galloped ever since the UPA Government was formed at the Centre.

All the senior BSP functionaries, office-bearers, ministers, MPs and MLAs participated in the State-wide agitation programme. In Lucknow, the main function was held at the Jyotiba Phule Stadium. Addressing the gathering, PWD and Excise Minister Naseemudin Siddiqui lashed out at the Centre for administering the fuel price hike and said the decision had created a magnitude of problems for the poor.

On July 15, a similar agitation would be held by the BSP in other States.