Hundreds of Congress workers, office-bearers and party supporters on Tuesday led a massive protest rally in Meerut against the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh.
The party accused the SP government, led by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, of not implementing the food security law in the state, breakdown of law and order, failure in containing communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and not attending to the basic problems of cane growers.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre depends on the SP’s 22 Lok Sabha MPs for maintaining majority in the Lok Sabha, but the two parties have had some acrimonious exchange of words lately.
The increasing frequency of spats is being seen as an indication of a possible parting of ways before the Lok Sabha polls due by May.
The SP extends outside support to the UPA government. Rival Bahujan Samaj Party, with 21 MPs, also extends outside support to the ruling alliance.
Leading the protest in Meerut, Congress general secretary in-charge of UP, Madhusudan Mistry, called the Akhilesh government "nikamma" (good for nothing) and said the law and order machinery in the state had collapsed.
"The common man is living in constant fear and the men in power themselves are breaking laws and twisting rules," he added. Mistry also accused the SP government of stonewalling implementation of the food security programme in the state.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Nirmal Khatri cited communal clashes in the state, particularly in Muzaffarnagar, to charge the SP government with failing to protect people. He also alleged that even the rehabilitation of the riot survivors was not in place.
Congress leaders and activists later tried to proceed towards the divisional commissioner's office in Meerut, but were forcibly stopped by the police and taken into preventive custody.