In a flash agitation, hundreds of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) activists staged a massive protest over inflation and fuel prices hike before Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani here on Monday.
The NCP workers sought to present a box of bangles to Irani as a reminder to her own anti-price hike agitation held during the tenure of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
However, later an unruffled Irani, surrounded by her security, spoke nothing on inflation but seemed to gloat over her 2019 victory in Amethi trouncing the then Congress President Rahul Gandhi from his traditional stronghold.
"The Congress - and NCP, which has emerged from it - are still shocked at how an ordinary BJP worker like me gave an unprecedented defeat to a sitting Congress President and he had to run to another constituency," smiled Irani victoriously.
Pune City NCP President Prashant Jagtap said that around 2014, when the price of gas cylinders went up by just Rs 5, Irani had sent bangles to Manmohan Singh.
"Today, under the BJP, the gas cylinder prices have shot up from some Rs 350 to over Rs 1,000 now, but Irani has nothing to say and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also silent at the sufferings of the masses," Jagtap said.
The NCP men and women workers shouted angry slogans and carried boxes of bangles for Irani with a plea to hand them over to the Prime Minister to draw his attention at the peoples' sufferings, but were stopped by the Pune Police.
The activists chanted "Mahengai Ki Rani, Smriti Irani", "Smriti Bhabhi, Jawab do", etc against the Union Minister who had come to attend an event here.
"When the people voted for the BJP and Modi, they had great expectations that he would set things right. Now, people are regretting that decision," said a woman activist.
Jagtap said that each and every poor family in the country is reeling under the high inflation and runaway fuel prices, but the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seem "least concerned" at their plight.
The Pune Police detained several scores of NCP men and women activists and rounded them off to local police stations even as Irani departed after completing her function this evening.
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