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Karnataka's fuel price hike sparks BJP protest; several top leaders detained

BJP state president and MLA B.Y. Vijayendra has vehemently demanded that the state government and chief minister abandon their decision to hike petrol and diesel prices on Thursday, calling it fraudulent and burdensome for the public. B.Y. Vijayendra made this statement at the start of a cycle rally protest, known as Jatha, from Jagannath Bhavan to Vidhansouda in Bengaluru.

Karnataka's fuel price hike sparks BJP protest; several top leaders detained
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First Published Jun 20, 2024, 12:50 PM IST

Vijayendra underscored the immediate revocation of this decision, cautioning that the BJP's opposition to the price hike will endure until the chief minister reverses the decision. The BJP is mobilising statewide protests to oppose the government's move, which they argue disproportionately impacts farmers and common citizens.

At the onset of the cycle rally protest, which saw participation from BJP leaders and supporters, slogans demanding justice and condemning the state government’s price increase rang out. The participants called for an immediate rollback of the hike, branding the decision as anti-people and a significant burden on society.

Prominent BJP figures, including state president B.Y. Vijayendra, former Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Ashwathtanarayan, and Vidhan Parishad members CT Ravi and Chalawadi Narayanaswamy, led the procession. The BJP units of three Bengaluru districts organised the event, highlighting the widespread discontent within the party ranks. Ex-ministers, MPs, MLAs, Legislative Council members, and local BJP leaders participated. As the rally advanced a short distance, police intervened and arrested the participants, including several high-profile BJP leaders. This action occurred shortly after the procession began, leading to a temporary halt in the protest.

Despite the arrests, the BJP leaders remained defiant. Vijayendra declared that the party would not deviate from their protest until the Chief Minister withdraws the decision. He criticized the state Congress government, labeling it anti-people and burdensome for farmers and the general public.

Minister of Infrastructure M.B. Patil added to the controversy by addressing the BJP's protest at Vidhansouda. He pointed out that during the UPA Manmohan Singh government, crude oil prices were high in the global market, yet the price of oil was lower. In contrast, he noted that when the Modi government came to power, crude oil prices were low, but the Modi administration increased oil prices significantly. 

Patil questioned why the BJP did not protest then, highlighting that the current government has only increased prices by Rs. 3 to align with other states and maintain lower prices than many others. He criticised BJP leaders for not speaking out against Modi’s policies at the time and mocked the current cycle protest, suggesting it might be beneficial for their health. 

Patil defended the state's decision to raise prices, emphasizing the necessity of raising funds, and questioned the silence of state MPs during Modi's price hikes, contrasting it with their current vocal opposition. He specifically mentioned Ashok and Vijayendra, challenging their lack of action during the Modi government’s price increases.
 

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