New Delhi: Main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party along with many non-Congress, non-BJP parties including UPA ally DMK and outside supporter Samajwadi Party on Thursday launched nation-wide bandh on a strong note protesting FDI in multi-brand retail and diesel price hike.
READ MORE: Don’t join Sep 20 protest:Cong to people
As per the TV reports, the Bharat bandh started on a peaceful note but normal life has been hit in many parts of the country.
|Highlights of Bharat Bandh|
Nearly 10 thousand trade federations and associations have also called Bharat Vyapar Bandh
Against: Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura and Odisha have formally stated their opposition
Terming the FDI and diesel price hike decision as anti-people, the BJP-led NDA had separately announced the nationwide strike on Thursday demanding a complete rollback of FDI in multi-brand retail and the Rs 5 hike in diesel prices.
Non-Congress parties including SP, Left, DMK, JD(S), BJD, TDP also joined hands to launch a powerful protest.
Nearly 10 thousand trade federations and associations have also called Bharat Vyapar Bandh on Thursday protesting against 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail. (Click here)
Key UPA constituent TMC, which has on Tuesday announced withdrawal of support from the government, has announced not to support the strike. Stating that a bandh serves no purpose, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had warned that her government would not allow forcible enforcement of the bandh called by the CPI(M) in her state.(Click here)
Mayawati’s BSP, a key outside supporter of UPA, has also kept itself away from the nation-wide agitation.(Click here)
DMK is the only constituent of UPA which has come out in support of the Bharat bandh. However, the ruling AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu though voicing its opposition to the Centre's recent ‘bold measures’ has not supported the shutdown.
The Shiv Sena, MNS and BJD have also decided not to participate in the bandh due to Ganpati Utsav.
Unlike left leaders, Samajwadi Party denied to join BJP leaders anywhere during nationwide protests. Mulayam Singh Yadav along with CPI (Marxist) leaders- Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury- and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu led a procession in New Delhi and courted arrest at Parliament Street police station.
Karnataka badly hit
Many IT firms declared a holiday .Buses were off the roads, majority of schools, colleges and market places were shut, many IT firms declared a holiday due to the shutdown. Attendance in government offices, banks and private firms was thin.
With Karnataka being ruled by the BJP, response to the shutdown was good.
Hundreds of train passengers who arrived in Bangalore from different parts of the country were stranded at the three railway stations with no buses and very few autorickshaws and taxis.
Cinema houses also declared a holiday. Reports from major educational and commercial towns like Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli, Shimoga, Davangere said normal life was disrupted with markets, schools and colleges shut and buses off the roads.
Shutdown in Uttar Pradesh
SP workers held demonstrations in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and stopped a train in Allahabad in support of the bandh.
Raising slogans against FDI in retail, a group of workers held a demonstration outside the Walmart store at Sultanpur here. A group of workers also held a protest outside Divisional Railway Manager's office in Hazratganj. Reports of similar protests also poured in from other districts including Allahabad where activists of the youth wing of the ruling SP stopped the Bareilly-bound Triveni Express at 5.30 AM on Niranjan railway bridge. The agitation delayed the onward journey of the train by an hour.
Senior SP leaders including SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav are likely to hold a protest later in the day against hike in diesel and LPG prices and allowing FDI in retail.
SP has directed its workers not to take law in their hands and hold peaceful protest, SP spokesman Rajendra Chowhdury said.
Bandh affects normal life in Bengal
Life in the city and elsewhere in West Bengal was disrupted by a 12-hour bandh called by Left parties.
Though airport services were normal, train services in Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway were disrupted, officials said. Services of the underground Metro rail, the city's lifeline, were normal, officials said.
Delhi Metro unaffected
In Delhi, the transport so far was not affected with rickshaws and taxis plying on roads.
Delhi Metro services, the lifeline of the city, will remain unaffected by the opposition-sponsored nationwide shutdown on Thursday, an official said.
"The Metro services will run as per schedule. There is neither any plan to curtail the services nor any plan for extra trips," a official of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said.
Mixed response in Tamil Nadu
It was a mixed response in Tamil Nadu to the nationwide shutdown with buses plying on the roads and government offices as well as educational institutions functioning. But shops remained shut and trucks did not run. Banking/insurance operations were affected as majority of the staff did not report for work.
According to police, elaborate security arrangements have been made across the state to prevent any untoward incident.While the government had announced that schools and colleges would function, some private schools announced a holiday much to the relief of many parents.
Maharashtra unaffected at large
The trading community downed shutters of shops and commercial establishments Thursday, but Mumbai suburban trains, BEST buses, public transport and flights operated normally during the opposition-sponsored all-India shutdown, officials here said.
However, the National Democratic Alliance's key ally in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena has not joined the shutdown, while the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena also opted out on grounds of the ongoing 10-day Ganeshotsav festival.
The BJP Pune unit also refrained from joining the shutdown on account of Ganeshotsav and the Jain festival of Paryushan.
Normal life hit in Andhra Pradesh
Buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) went off the roads in most parts of the state. The road transport came to a grinding halt with over four lakh trucks across the state joining the 24-hour strike since midnight. A section of auto-rickshaw drivers in Hyderabad and other towns too joined the strike.
Shops, business establishments and educational institutions were closed in several parts of Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Guntur, Nellore, Tirupati, Kurnool, Karimnagar and other towns.
Bharat bandh in Bihar
There were reports of road blockade and disruption in train services from several districts from Bihar, the sources said.
A group of BJP workers blocked rail traffic at Patna junction and stopped movement of a number of long distance express and passenger trains, official sources said.
The protesters shouted slogans against the UPA government at the Centre demanding roll back of FDI in multi-brand retail and diesel price hike.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made and large number of policemen deployed on the street in Patna and other parts of the state, they said.
There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the state.
Total shutdown in Tripura
Most markets, businesses, offices, educational institutions and banks were closed. Train services between Tripura and the rest of India were disrupted. Public vehicles went off the roads. Buses plying between Tripura and Bangladesh and other northeastern states were also hit. But flights on the Agartala-Kolkata, Agartala-Guwahati and Agartala-New Delhi routes were normal.
Kashmir unaffected, Jammu crippled
Markets, public transport and other businesses remained closed in Jammu city. Attendance in government offices, banks, post offices and government-run educational institutions remained thin because of the non-availability of public transport in Jammu. Peaceful protests were held at many places in Jammu city as police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel stood on high alert to ensure maintenance of law and order. In the Kashmir Valley, however, life remained normal as the Bandh call had little effect there.Local transporters called off their earlier announced strike. Educational institutions, markets, public transport, banks, post offices and government offices opened as usual in the morning.
For a change, no shutdown in Kerala
It was business as usual in Kerala, a state otherwise renowned for its shutdowns. Hence it decided not to go along with the all-India bandh call by the opposition parties. During a debate in the state assembly recently, CPI-M politburo member and former state minister for home and tourism Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had remarked: "Hartal tourism is also a tourism product, one that tourists are awed by when they visit the state."
Mixed response in Punjab, Haryana
Shiv Sena members were on the streets, forcing shops to down shutters in Amritsar city. Shops in several areas of the Sikh holy city remained shut. Reports of partial shutdown of shops and other establishments were received from Patiala, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and other places.With the private bus transporters joining the nationwide strike against the hike in diesel prices, most of the private buses were off roads in Punjab.
In Chandigarh, shops were slowly opening in some sectors on Thursday morning. Several schools and offices had announced a holiday Thursday in wake of the shutdown call. In Haryana, opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) workers stopped a local train in Gharaunda town, 130 km from here. The Palwal Express train was stopped by BJP workers in Faridabad city, adjoining Delhi.
Bandh in Rajasthan
In Congress-ruled Rajasthan, the bandh call got a mixed response. In Jaipur, major markets and business establishments remained closed and public transport was hit partially as many private buses and autorickshaws remained off road