BJP protests bus fare hike in Karnataka

Bangalore, June 17 (IANS) The BJP Monday staged a rally in Bangalore and a few other places in Karnataka demanding withdrawal of recent hike in bus fares in the state.

However, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy ruled out reversing the hike.

This is the first public protest by the Bharatiya Janata Party which lost power to the Congress in the May 5 assembly elections.

The fares went up by 16 percent in Bangalore and 10.5 percent across the state from Saturday midnight.

"Just a month after it came to power the Congress has shown that it is not interested in people's welfare," R. Ashoka, who was transport minister in the BJP government, said addressing the party members at the rally held in the city centre.

BJP general secretary and Bangalore South MP H.N. Ananth Kumar said while the Congress government in the state hiked the bus fare, the Congress-led central government increased petrol price by Rs.2 per litre the same day.

"We will take up in the monsoon session of parliament the issue of frequent hike in petrol and diesel prices by the central government," he said.

Among the other places where the rally was held was Mysore, around 130 km from Bangalore.

Ramalinga Reddy, speaking to reporters on the margins of a function in Bangalore, said the fare hike was inevitable as the transport corporations were incurring huge losses due to hike in diesel prices and increased wages for the employees.