Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari fainted in the scorching Delhi heat Wednesday during the party's rally against rising prices attended by thousands of activists.
Gadkari, 53, who assumed the party post in December last, collapsed on the stage built on an open truck top near Ramlila Grounds here.
BJP workers were seen holding him up to prevent him from collapsing on the floor. The sweltering heat with the mercury hovering around the 41 degree Celsius mark was clearly too much for the BJP president.
Leading the rally, the BJP leader was seen with his head covered in a wet towel and a water bottle in his hand.
Thousands of BJP activists besieged the capital for the massive rally against rising prices, tipped to be the first show of strength of the newly-elected party president.
'Rising prices synonyms with Congress'
Gadkari, who assumed the top BJP post in December last year, said during the rally that price rise had become synonym to the Congress' coming to power.
"Whenever the Congress comes to power, there is rise in prices of essential commodities," he said, reminding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi of their promise that food prices would be brought down within the 100 days of coming to power.
"But the poor people are committing suicide," he said as the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government completes one year of its second consecutive stint in power.
Accusing the government of following "wrong economic" policies, the BJP president said he had posed 14 questions to the prime minister on price rise but the ruling party failed to come up even with a single reply.
"Nobody in the Congress is in a position to give reply to these questions. They have wrong economic policies and are providing bad governance," Ghadkari said as party activists waved saffron and green BJP flags and cheered loudly.
Driven primarily by higher food prices, India's annual rate of inflation last week was 9.9 per cent in March from 9.89 percent a month ago.
Gadkari alleged that food stocks were rotting in warehouses and accused the government of deliberately neglecting the storage so that these could be sold to liquor manufactures at cheaper prices later.
The rally was also addressed by BJP's leader of opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi and L K Advani.
Advani said prices of essential commodities had risen between 100 to 200 percent since the UPA first took office six years back.
"This has happened because of bad management and corruption."
He said it was the biggest rally the party had organised.
"In one way, it is a rally that has beaten the records of all previous (BJP) rallies."
BJP activists later marched towards parliament braving the scorching sun in Delhi.
The rally hit traffic movement across central Delhi with Ring Road, Mathura Road, India Gate, Tilak Marg, Asaf Ali Road, Netaji Subhash Marg, Ranjit Singh Marg, Tolstoy Marg, Sikandra Road, Barakhamba Road, Parliament Street and Ashoka Road being the worst affected.
The party on Tuesday had appealed to Delhiites to bear with the traffic jams from 10 am to 6 pm.