Hundreds of Bahujan Samaj Party workers on Thursday staged a demonstration in the busy Hazratganj area in Lucknow to protest against the derogatory remarks made by Dayashankar Singh against party supremo Mayawati even as police carried out raids to trace the Bharatiya Janata Party leader.
Raising slogans and burning effigies, the BSP workers converged near the Ambedkar statue in Hazratganj on the call of the party to stage a dharna against Singh, who has since been expelled by the BJP.
Traffic was thrown out of gear in the city as BSP workers, raising slogans and carrying placards, thronged the area.
In the dharna, a BSP worker was slightly injured while trying to set an effigy ablaze. The shirt of the injured worker caught fire but he along with others promptly pulled it out and escaped with minor burns.
BSP had asked its workers from different districts to reach the state capital to lodge a strong protest against the remarks made by the BJP leader and in response hundreds of Mayawati loyalists started making it to the state capital since last night.
Singh had sparked an outrage by his derogatory comments against the BSP supremo. He had said that "Mayawati is breaking the dream of Kanshi Ram into pieces. Mayawati is selling tickets like a... p*******te”
Reacting to the protests, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the issue is over and the BJP has already taken action against him.
"This issue is over. We took action against him. Now what else should we do, tell? What he said was completely objectionable. The leader of the House too condemned the statement at the earliest. He was removed from his post, and later on he was suspended also. Let them protest, they keep on protesting; be it Congress or others. The thing is that BJP is moving ahead, and they can't digest that," he said.
With the Samajwadi Party government making it clear that action will be taken against Singh on the basis of the FIR, police in Lucknow and Ballia raided his premises but Singh was not found.
A police team was sent to Singh's house in Ballia last night but he was not found, Deputy Superintendent of Police K C Tyagi said.
Last night, an FIR was lodged against Singh under sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 504 (intentional insult with intent to breach peace) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act after a complaint against him was lodged with Hazratganj police by party national secretary Mevalal Gautam.
Dayashankar Singh had stated last night that he had not said anything directly against the BSP chief.
"Whatever I said, I did it respectfully. She is a prominent woman leader and has been Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for four times. I have expressed regret for the statement, but what the BSP supremo said about my mother, sister and daughter in Rajya Sabha...she has insulted the women," he said.
Mayawati had stated that mere expression of regret will not suffice and added, "His (Singh's) remarks apply for his sister and daughter and not for me. The whole country will not forgive BJP... people will come on the streets."
Police said security at Singh's residence has been strengthened in the wake of the protest call.