National

Mixed response to nationwide bandh

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Sep 10, 2018
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi at a protest in New Delhi on Monday, against the record high petrol and diesel prices prevailing in the country

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi at a protest in New Delhi on Monday, against the record high petrol and diesel prices prevailing in the country

Opposition party workers block the arterial Anna Salai in Chennai

Opposition party workers block the arterial Anna Salai in Chennai

CPI(M) leaders D Raja and Sitaram Yechury lead a protest in Delhi

CPI(M) leaders D Raja and Sitaram Yechury lead a protest in Delhi

Congress workers court arrest in Ahmedabad

Congress workers court arrest in Ahmedabad

An old man sits on a near-empty road in Mumbai

An old man sits on a near-empty road in Mumbai

 Daily wage workers take a day’s rest as work comes to a standstill in Agartala

Daily wage workers take a day’s rest as work comes to a standstill in Agartala

Hits normal life in several States; Bengal unaffected because of its anti-strike policy

The Bharat bandh called by the Congress and the Left on Monday against rising fuel prices and tumbling rupee evoked mixed response in the country as the Opposition closed its ranks against the Modi government. The BJP, however, dubbed the protest a failure.

In New Delhi, the rally drew together leaders of the JD(S), TMC, RJD, NCP, Loktantrik Janata Dal, Rashtriya Lok Dal, All India United Democratic Front, Revolutionary Socialist Party and AAP. Also in attendance were former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Manmohan hit out at the BJP for “miserably” failing to control fuel prices.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi flayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his stoic silence over rising fuel prices, tumbling rupee, Rafale fighter jet deal and agrarian distress in the country. The Left parties took out a separate rally in Delhi.

The day-long shutdown affected normal life in Odisha, Karnataka, Bihar, Kerala and Tripura and triggered a mixed response in Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

But it was mostly ineffective in Mamata Banerjee-ruled West Bengal. Banks and educational institutions in Kolkata were mostly open while trading activities in the city were more or less normal. The ruling TMC supported the issues on which the shutdown was called but opposed the strike in line with its stated anti-strike policy.

Bihar takes a hit

Normal life was hit in Bihar with the shutdown supported by the RJD, Left, Hindustani Awam Morcha and Jan Adhikar Party of Pappu Yadav. A critically ill two-year-old girl died on her way to a hospital in Jehanabad town apparently due to a road blockade.

Normal life was paralysed in Odisha with vehicular movement and train services thrown out of gear as Congress workers blocked roads and trains. Hundreds of Congress activists were arrested. The Railways cancelled 12 trains while schools and colleges were closed.

Life was thrown out of gear in BJP-ruled Tripura with most markets, shops and business establishments closed and private and passenger vehicles off the roads. Government offices and some banks were open but employee attendance was low.

BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh saw stray incidents of protests. The response was mixed in Jharkhand, with a few shops closed and long-route buses not plying.

In flood-ravaged, Left-ruled Kerala, public vehicles went off the roads but private vehicles plied in many places. Shops, markets and establishments were shut.

In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, bus services were affected and many private educational institutions remained closed.

Business as usual in TN

Normal life in Tamil Nadu largely remained unaffected, as state-run buses operated smoothly and most commercial establishments and educational institutes functioned as usual.

However, autorickshaw operators affiliated to Left trade unions AITUC, CITU and the DMK-backed Labour Progressive Federation kept off the roads. In most parts of Tamil Nadu, Left trade unions took the lead in holding demonstration against the fuel price hike.

In Maharashtra, the shutdown elicited mixed response in urban centres but secured widespread support in the semi-urban and rural hinterland which have been severely hit by the fuel prices and its cascading effects.

In Mumbai and other cities, large numbers took to the streets, railway stations, bus depots, and other public places.

But suburban trains, BEST buses, schools and colleges functioned normally. Shops and commercial establishments downed shutters in many localities.

The bandh evoked mixed response in Gujarat as the authorities briefly detained hundreds of Congress workers. No major untoward incidents were reported from anywhere in the State. State BJP spokesman IK Jadeja said the bandh “failed” even as the the Congress leaders claimed success.

The bandh evoked good response in Karnataka. With coalition ruling partners JD(S) and Congress extending support, the entire State witnessed total bandh. In major towns and cities, business establishments and public transport were suspended while essential services were exempted from the shutdown.

Published on September 10, 2018

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