New Delhi: The war-cry over the Centre’s decision of allowing 51 percent FDI in multi-brand retail has hit the streets as traders observed Bharat Bandh in protest against the move.

BJP also joined the traders' protest by organizing marches and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in at least 20 locations of the city.

Confederation of All India Traders' Delhi unit president Narender Madan said a large number of traders have kept their shops shut to participate in the all-India bandh.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said traders across the country were participating in the bandh to protest the government decision to allow FDI in retail.
"Around five crore traders belonging to 10,000 traders' bodies across the country are participating in the bandh. Traders took out marches in commercial markets across the country," Khandelwal said.

Khandelwal said the decision on FDI will create an uneven playing field in the country which will tilt towards MNCs and prove to be a "nightmare" for traders and consumer.

Maintaining that there was no need for foreign investment in the sector, he said, "The Government should withdraw the permission of FDI in retail".
He said Indian retail sector was being run successfully by the indigenous capital at the rate of 15 per cent and contributing 10 per cent of GDP. "So no FDI was required".

Most shops and establishments in both retail and wholesale segments in West Bengal downed their shutters in response to an all-India strike called to protest the government's decision.

The Confederation of West Bengal Trade Associations (CWBTA), the apex body of the most prominent trade associations of the state, having over five lakh small and medium level traders, said all sister trade bodies are supporting the bandh call.
Karnataka also downed their shutters and joined the protest against the Centre's decision to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail trade.

Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), which is leading the protest, organised dharna in front of its office here in which several traders participated.

 Reports of trade bandh were also coming from various parts of the state.