Police have arrested 73 BJP workers and activists during a protest that began in Varanasi on Sunday against the Communist government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and ended in Pankali Chhuni in Gorakhpur district, 40 km from the Uttar Pradesh capital.
Police said they were holding only close associates of former Varanasi MLA Sakshi Maharaj.
The action came after a BJP candidate’s supporters in Pankali Chhuni set on fire a bus that was ferrying students to Allahabad University.
Police said the bus had been ferrying students from Lucknow to Allahabad University on Sunday.
They said the protesters had also set fire to vehicles and petrol pumps.
In Varanasi, hundreds of BJP workers from district-level level to constituency-level were leading a protest rally to “unplug” state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from power.
The BJP leaders and workers led a procession from Varanasi Police Station to Begumpur Assembly Constituency. There, they distributed pamphlets and shouted slogans against the Yogi government.
Among those arrested by police in Varanasi was Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Harish Chaudhary.
Police also arrested Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Varanasi Sudhir Mishra and his son Shashank Mishra.
While Sudhir Mishra said on social media, “We are planning to kick him (Yogi) out of power and give back to the people to decide the fate of Yogi,” his son Shashank Mishra claimed to have been arrested for stoning buses.
Varanasi Divisional Commissioner Chakra Ram said, “They are protesting against the Yogi government. We have arrested 73 supporters. We will remain on stand by to arrest the others in a day or two.”
Acharya Pal Prakash, President of Chhuni Uphaar – a cultural group – told the media, “The BJP’s large presence in Varanasi has reached its peak. Its big vehicle, ‘Mavaji’, has entered the city. The state administration will see no more development in the city.”
BJP President Amit Shah started his two-day visit to Varanasi at 7.30 am on Monday.
Siddharth Nath Singh, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, arrived in Varanasi on Monday morning.