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Protests, counter-protests mark Maya's birthday
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
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January 15, 2009 21:24 IST

Uttar Pradesh [Images] Chief Minister Mayawati's [Images] birthday on Thursday escalated political activity in the state as both ruling party and opposition activists took to the streets to stress their respective points.

It was a day of unique demonstrations by each of the four key political parties -- the Samajwadi Party, Bhartiya Janata Party, the Congress and to top it all the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party.

Albeit separately, volunteers of the opposition parties staged their respective demonstrations in different areas to protest against what they termed as extortion.

Significantly, the common issue raised by each of the parties was the "murder of PWD executive engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta by BSP MLA Shekhar Tiwari during the course of the latter's extortion bid to gather funds for Mayawati's birthday."

And they all coined their own interesting phrases to describe their agitation.

While the Samajwadi Party chose to call it thu-thu diwas (spitting day), BJP decided to describe their agitation as laaj  bachao, suhaag bachao diwas, and the Congress preferred to call it lalkar diwas (Day of challenge).

In an unimpressive bid to prove their rivals wrong and to beat their own trumpet, the ruling BSP held local level demonstrations in each of the state's 403 assembly constituencies, essentially to condemn the opposition.

BSP activists termed their demonstration as virodhi party dhikkar diwas (opposition parties' condemnation day).

The demonstrations disrupted normal life particularly in the state capital. SP activists got the worst of it. As soon as they launched their agitation, the police intercepted and fired teargas shells followed by merciless caning, that left many bleeding and wounded.

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