New Delhi: The BJP on Friday launched a one-day jail bharo agitation across the country during which party leaders and workers court arrested to protest against the hike in prices of essential commodities and petrol products.

The day-long agitation was staged by party president Nitin Gadkari at Nagpur, M Venkaiah Naidu in Mumbai, Gopinath Munde in Maharashtra, Sushma Swaraj in Bhopal, Narendra Singh Tomar in Madhya Pradesh, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Delhi along with other leaders.

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BJP activists protests across Punjab, Haryana

Accusing the Government of adopting "several tricks" including "misuse" of CBI to maintain majority and secure the support of political parties in the Parliament and during elections, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley claimed the Government has lost the confidence of the common man and that it has "failed" on all fronts.

"Public is not with the government. They cannot run the government. They are not able to manage things and governance is zero under UPA. Only thing the government is doing is to adopt several tricks to mislead other political parties to get their work done in the Parliament and other elections," he told a protest rally here attended by former party President Rajnath Singh and Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta.

After the rally, Singh, Gupta, senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and hundreds of BJP cadres courted arrest.

"When Left parties withdrew support to the UPA on the Nuclear Deal (in 2008), Samajwadi Party came to its rescue. All of us saw how the Samajwadi Party made a U-turn within 24 hours on the Presidential elections. Even the BSP made a U-turn on the issue," Jaitley said.

He alleged the Government was using Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a "tool to maintain majority."

Jaitely also said the political situation in the country is such that "one gets an impression after reading the report by interlocutors on Kashmir that the government wants to divide the country." However, he did not elaborate.

On the recent hike in petroleum products, the BJP leader alleged the Centre was not reducing the price of petrol despite the prices of crude oil coming down in the global market.

"The Government maintains that it had to hike prices of petrol due to increase in crude oil. The rate of crude oil which was USD 127 has come down to USD 90 on Thursday. Even now the government is not reducing the price," he said.

Jaitley also claimed that the price of petrol will come down to Rs 50 a litre if the tax levied by the government is reduced or removed.

"The government imposes a lot of tax on petrol and other products. Almost half of the price is collected as tax by the government. The money which goes into the government coffers come from the pockets of common man," he said.

Jaitley also alleged that the UPA Government was the "most corrupt government" in the history of India and noted that Rajiv Gandhi lost power after the Bofors scam broke out.

"The Bofors scam was worth Rs 64 crore which now looks like a small scale industry. Now the country talks about scams of Rs 1.76 lakh crore and Rs 2 lakh crore," he said.

He also said the Indian economy was going down the drain and noted the downgrading of status by noted agencies.

In his address, Rajnath Singh said never inflation has reached such a level in the country as it is now since Independence.

"People call Manmohan Singh a distinguished economist. But he is not able to manage the economy. Most international agencies have downgraded Indian economy. The UPA Government is not bothered about the common man," he charged.

Former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee was no economist, but he managed the economy well during his tenure as he knew the difficulties of the common man, Singh said.

Naqvi alleged that the UPA government was encouraging corruption under the garb of honesty and said despite record production of crops in the last eight years, prices of essential commodities have been constantly on the rise.

"The import of crude oil is about 85 percent of the present (consumption). However, during the NDA regime, it was 65 to 70 percent because we focused on alternate sources like piped gas, bio-diesel and ethanol," Naqvi added.

Protest called off in Mumbai after Mantralaya fire

The BJP's jail bharo agitation was cancelled here on Friday in the wake of the massive fire at the Mantralaya.

"Due to fire at the Mantralaya here yesterday, the BJP 'jail bharo' has been cancelled here," Maharashtra BJP chief Sudhir Mugantiwar said.

The nation-wide agitation, however, continued in other parts of Maharashtra, as part of the BJP's protest against rising inflation and corruption in the country.

Andolan in Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh

BJP's senior leader K Laxman and Tamil Nadu unit president Pon Radhakrishnan and scores of workers courted arrest here on Friday as part of its nation-wide 'Jail Bharo' protest to highlight "failures" of Congress-led UPA and demanding complete rollback of hike in petrol prices.

The agitating BJP leaders and around 250 supporters courted arrest at Meenambakkam, police said.

Protests were held at 15 places in Chennai, party sources added.

Along with the rest of the country, Arunachal Pradesh unit of BJP on Friday joined 'Jan Sangrash Abhiyan' demanding immediate roll-back of petrol prices along with soaring prices of other essential commodities.

Hundreds of BJP workers led by Party's National Secretary Tapir Gao organised a rally from Solung ground to the party's office here.

Shouting anti-Congress slogans, BJP workers stalled traffic movement in NH-52A, the lifeline for the state capital, for nearly an hour by burning tyres.

Later talking to reporters Gao said the party would intensified agitation throughout the country in the coming days if the Congress-led UPA government failed to bring down the prices of petrol, LPG and other essential commodities immediately.

JPN/Agencies

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