The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police crowd BJP march

New Delhi, Oct. 21: The BJP’s march against the “inefficient Sheila Dikshit government” at the capital’s Fleet Street today turned out to be a damp squib, with barely 40 people turning up.

The youth wing-organised march failed to attract the masses and even journalists from nearby newspaper offices on Bahadurshah Zafar Marg.

Only policemen made their presence felt, far outnumbering the demonstrators. “We had to come here in large numbers since we cannot take chances during a protest march,” a senior police officer said.

Addressing the gathering, Delhi BJP chief Madan Lal Khurana said: “(The) Sheila Dikshit government should not think that we are sleeping. The people will give a befitting reply in the polls.” When the fire brigade fired water cannons at the demonstrators, Khurana said the government was spraying water containing the dengue virus.

The BJP appeared frustrated at its inability to seize on any issue to put the state Congress on the backfoot. Ever since Assembly elections were announced for December 1, the BJP has tried to rake up corruption, scarcity of onions and now, dengue, but nothing seems to be clicking with the electorate.

“Sheila Dikshit ka diwali uphar — dengue (Dengue is Dikshit’s Diwali gift)” read one of the placards being waved by BJP activists.

Police had barricaded Bahadurshah Zafar Marg leading to the ITO crossing, preventing the activists from marching onto the multi-storeyed Player’s Building, home to Delhi government offices.

The demonstrators, shouting anti-Dikshit slogans, put up some resistance and had water canons fired at them. “Now stop protesting, the photographs have been taken,” quipped one policeman, amused at the dearth of protesters.

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