The city witnessed a series of rallies on Friday as different political parties took to the streets to voice their ire against the Centre’s decision to hike the diesel price and put a cap on the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinders per household.
Toeing the traditional line of protest, some burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A few took the off-beat route of demonstration like riding bicycles, pulling tractors and marching with cooking gas cylinders.
The state BJP chief, C.P. Thakur, marched up to Dakbungalow roundabout with other leaders around 11am and burnt the effigy of the Prime Minister. MLC Mangal Pandey, Nokha MLA Rameshwar Prasad Chaurasia and Kumrahar MLA Arun Kumar Sinha pedalled cycle to register their protest.
Thakur started the tirade against the Centre in the morning while walking towards the Dakbungalow roundabout.
“The UPA government at the Centre has become authoritarian and does not deserve to be in power any more. By taking the moral responsibility, the Manmohan Singh government should resign immediately,” he said.
Around nine hours later, chief minister Nitish Kumar expressed his dissent on the sidelines of a programme organised by Institution of Engineers in the state capital. “Chala chalanti ki bela hai, sarkar ek ke baad ek is tarah ke nirnay le rahi hai, jo atmaghati hoga (The days of the UPA government are numbered because it has been taking anti-people decisions one after the other and they would prove to be suicidal).”
Terming the decisions as anti-people, Nitish said the fuel price hike would have a cascading effect on each and everyone of the society.
“Farmers and common man will be affected. Prices of essential commodities will increase. Transporters have already announced the hike in bus fares on various routes. Despite the opposition from various state governments, the Centre took such a decision. It should immediately roll back the diesel price hike,” Nitish said.
The Centre yesterday increased the price of diesel and capped the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinders to six per household. The price of a litre of diesel in the city surged to Rs 51 from midnight, fuelling dissent against the dual decisions of the Centre.
Condemning the decisions of the UPA government, Nokha legislator Rameshwar said: “I have failed to understand the decisions the central government is taking every fortnight. Are they not concerned with the problems of common man? It seems they have lost their mental balance. That day is not far when we will be forced to use cycles for travelling.”
Concerned about the kitchen budget, women also took to the streets. With cooking gas cylinders on their heads, visibly angry homemakers marched towards the Income Tax roundabout with Digha JD(U) MLA Poonam Devi. The team also burnt the effigy of the Prime Minister.
“Women will be affected the most because they run the family in a limited budget. They have to take care of everything, including clothes of children and their studies. The price of all the essential commodities will go up with the diesel price hike,” said Poonam, demanding immediate rollback of the fuel price.
Around 150 members of the JD(U)’s farmer cell also took out a noisy procession. They tied rope to a tractor and pulled it on the road.
While pulling the tractor, Bihar Citizen Council’s general secretary Anil Pathak said: “The diesel price hike has broken the backbone of every citizen of the country. The decision will have adverse impact on the prices of vegetables, fruits and other essential commodities. The central government should roll back the decision and the Prime Minster must step down.”