Raising the pitch against the quota bill, thousands of Uttar Pradesh government employees on Monday marched down the streets of Lucknow, expressing their ire against Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. The agitators blamed them for pushing the constitutional amendment bill in the Parliament for introducing reservation in promotions in all government jobs.
They staged a demonstration both outside the heavily guarded fortress-like residence of Mayawati as well outside the UP Congress headquarters to mark their protest against what they termed as the "hand-in-glove" operation between the two parties. Protests were also staged outside the state headquarters of the BJP, whom they accused of having joined hands with the Congress and BSP.
Initiated by Mayawati, the bill has open support of the Congress as well as the BJP.
Similar protests were reported from several other parts of the state. A large number of employees were reported to be standing outside their offices raising anti-Congress and anti-Mayawati slogans while refusing to work.
However, in a few places, small groups of pro-reservation activists emerged. They also urged the government to allow them to work on Saturdays and holidays to compensate for the work suspended on account of the anti-reservationists stir.
In Lucknow, thousand of employees gathered outside the office of the state Public Works Department, opposite Uttar Pradesh Governor B L Joshi's residence, from where they marched in a procession to Mayawati's residence.
Raising anti-Mayawati slogans, they marched in a procession to the nearby Congress state headquarters where they flung shoes at Sonia Gandhi's posters, tore them down and set them on fire.
That was followed by a march to the state headquarters of the BJP where the agitators accused the party leadership of "selling themselves to the Congress."
"Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi are hand in glove," alleged anti-reservation action committee convenor Shailendra Dube, who is spearheading the demonstrations.
A retired chief engineer of the state electricity board, Dube further accused Gandhi and Mayawayti of having struck a deal. "There is a clear cut quid pro quo between the two -- while Gandhi helped Mayawati by telling the CBI to go slow in the corruption case being investigated by the agency, Mayawati extended her party support on FDI in retail. And now the Congress was again repaying Mayawati by pushing the reservation bill," he said.