Chennai: The nation-wide bandh called by NDA and Left parties evoked partial response in Tamil Nadu with thousands of Left and BJP workers courting arrest in Chennai and elsewhere while staging road and rail blockades.

No untoward incidents were reported, police said.    

Around 20 lakh commercial establishments and shops downed their shutters as part of the protest call given to oppose the Centre approving FDI in multi-brand retail besides the recent hike in diesel prices by Rs 5 per litre.

BJP's state unit president Pon Radhakrishnan and party's senior leader Muralidhar Rao, CPI-M rpt CPI-M state secretary G Ramakrishnan and AIFB leader Debabrata Biswas were among the leaders who were detained for staging road and rail roko in Chennai.

Thousands of workers belonging to these parties besides local outfits were also detained across the state, police said.

Autos affiliated to Left unions kept off the roads while public transport services were operated as per schedule.    

Schools and educational institutions remained open even as Ramakrishnan claimed that many college students also joined their protest.

Key UPA ally DMK had announced its backing to the bandh with the participation of its Labour Progressive Front. Party chief M Karunanidhi had flayed the Centre for further burdening the common man whom, he said, was already suffering from revised power tariff, bus fares and milk prices.

Meanwhile, a traders' association said 20 lakh shops remained closed today to oppose Centre's decision on FDI in multi-brand retail.

"Around 20 lakh shops and commercial establishments were closed, affecting a day's revenue of around Rs 1500 crore for traders and Rs 200 crore in taxes for government. Besides, a day's stock of perishables have also gone waste..." AM Vikrama Raja, president, Tamilnadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu (Traders body), said.

Hundreds of volunteers of left parties besides Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and other local outfits courted arrest as they blocked train traffic at Madurai Junction.

CPI-M workers blocked the Guruvayur Express,bound for Chennai,for ten minutes.Police chased them away and took them into custody.

Officials said 1200 men were taken into custody in the city for blocking train traffic and for picketing the Post office at Tallakulam.

An official of Ramanthaswamy temple said there was overwhelming crowd for the Annadhana scheme today as the hotels had downed shutters.

There was no untoward incident from any part of the southern districts and  police were maintaining tight vigil, officials said.

A report from Mayiladuthurai said about 200 persons were arrested for blocking road in front of the Post office and also picketing train traffic. Shops in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts remained closed.


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