Undaunted by the warnings issued by Mayawati's machinery and the intensified security in the state, SP workers set ablaze posters and effigies in cities, towns and remote villages in the state. They continued shouting slogans against Mayawati's alleged autocratic style of functioning and the Bahujan Samaj Party, even as they were chased by cane-wielding policemen. Thousands of arrests were made from different part of the state.
SP's state unit president Akhilesh Yadav was put under house arrest in Lucknow while his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav confined himself to Delhi.
"I was not allowed to step out of my house which was sealed by barricades," said Akhilesh on Thursday afternoon after he was allowed to move to the SP state headquarters, 250 metres from his residence.
The party office was cordoned off from both sides blocking movement of all vehicular traffic as well as pedestrians from Wednesday evening. "The administration seems to be least bothered about the inconvenience they are causing to commuters and citizens residing in the neighbourhood," said Akhilesh.
He however was elated with the party's show of strength. "I am glad that our party men were not deterred by lathi-weilding cops who chased and beat them up. We have also succeeded in exposing Mayawati's highly undemocratic and dictatorial rule," he said. "After all, the opposition is allowed to stage protests in any democratic system," he added.
As Akhilesh sat in the party office, he was flooded with phone calls from different parts of the state informing him about the protests carried out by party functionaries that spread across UP's 73 districts.
Thursday's stir came days after the three-day anti-government protests earlier this month (March 7 to 9) in Lucknow, which the Mayawati administration left no stone unturned to crush with brute force.