Ranchi, Jan. 18: Thousands of BJP workers including party leaders took part in its statewide halla bol campaign to protest against the Union cabinet's approval to President's Rule in Jharkhand, promising to step up efforts to mobilise the electorate against erstwhile ally JMM and the Congress.
Scores of BJP workers took out processions at various district headquarters and courted arrest to protest central rule, which they fear will leave room for political parties to negotiate and form an alternative government before the next elections.
In Ranchi, party activists led by state BJP president Dineshanand Goswami assembled near Mahatma Gandhi's statue at Morabadi grounds and marched to Raj Bhavan, shouting slogans such as Vidhan Sabha bhang karo (dissolve the state Assembly) and rajnitik saudebazi nahin chalegi (political bargaining will not be allowed). The police stopped them near Raj Bhavan.
In a brief address before courting arrest, Goswami alleged that the governor overstepped his jurisdiction while recommending President's Rule in Jharkhand and keeping the state Assembly under suspended animation.
The Union cabinet too had opened doors for horse-trading by approving the governor's recommendation, he said, adding that the BJP would oppose this tooth and nail.
The protesters were arrested and taken to the nearby Jaipal Singh Stadium in buses. Later, when informed about their release, they demanded that the buses drop them at Morabadi grounds, where their personal vehicles were parked. The request was acceded to.
"According to our preliminary reports, over 5,000 party workers courted arrest across the state. We had hurriedly worked out the campaign yesterday after the Union cabinet resolved to impose President's Rule. We will intensify our mass agitation in the coming days, through which we will mobilise the voters against the Congress and JMM," Goswami told The Telegraph.
On January 22, the BJP plans to lock up block offices across Jharkhand.
The party's district presidents and secretaries have been directed to ensure the success of the campaign that will feature senior leaders.