The day-long nationwide bandh called by the Left parties and NDA today, demanding a roll back of the government's decision to hike diesel prices, cap subsidised cooking gas cylinders and against allowing FDI in multi-brand retail has hit life at many places in the country.
Samajwadi Party workers blocked rail traffic at Allahabad railway station in the morning. BJP Yuva Morcha activists stopped trains at Patna junction.
Workers of SP, CPM, CPI, TDP, BJD, JD (S), All India Forward Bloc and the RSP have plans to organise picketing, demonstrations and court arrest.
A scuffle broke out between the TMC workers and BJP workers in Howrah when BJP workers were taking out a rally in support of the bandh and TMC workers were opposing it.
The bandh did not have much effect in the morning in Delhi as Autos and buses could be seen plying on the road and Delhi metro was also running smoothly. However, some schools in the capital were closed due to the bandh according to the reports.
According to media reports, protesters burned effigy of the prime minister at some places in UP. In Bangalore, government and private schools were shut.
Samajwadi Party workers today held demonstrations in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and stopped a train in Allahabad in support of the bandh against FDI in
retail and hike in diesel prices.
Raising slogans against FDI in retail, a group of workers held a demonstration outside the Walmart store at Sultanpur in the state.
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 protesters assembled in large numbers along the railway tracks and also burnt the effigies of the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
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.
Life in Kolkata 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.
Running of trains in South Eastern Railway to and from Howrah were disrupted since 8.30 am due to obstruction caused by protesters at Ramrajatala station.
Howrah-Pune Duranto Express, which started from Howrah on time, was stopped by the squatters in Kolkata, railway sources said.
Eastern Railway spokesperson said that train services on Howrah division of ER were disrupted as bandh supporters blocked rail tracks at several stations. The obstructions were made at Katwa, Jougram, Agradeep, Ahemedpur, Bagnapara, Bhadreswar, Baidyabati and other stations.
Six long-distance trains reached Howrah this morning before the bandh started. He said that in Sealdah division of ER, train services were disrupted as bandh supporters obstructed rail traffic at Bongaon, Hasnabad and Diamond Harbour sections, he said.
However, train services were normal in Sealdah-Dankuni, Sealdah main line upto Kalyani, Namkhana-Sealdah and Budge Budge-Sealdah sections.
Services of the underground Metro rail, the city's lifeline, were normal, officials said. Airport sources said the flight operations were normal in Kolkata airport, except cancellation of two Indigo flights - Kolkata-New Delhi and Kolkata-Agartala which were scheduled to fly in the morning.
Seven long-distance trains arrived at Sealdah and Kolkata stations before the bandh started. Very few private buses were on the road but taxis were mostly off the roads in view of their 72-hour strike starting today in support of fare price hike. State-run buses and trams plied normally.
Educational institutions, shops and business establishments were by and large closed in the city. Joint Commissioner of Police (Kolkata), Jawed Shamim told PTI that there has been no untoward incident so far in the city.
Police pickets have been set up in various parts of the city to check any untoward incident. Officials of West Bengal government said that normalcy would be ensured during today's general strike called by the Left in the state from 6 am. The strike coincides with NDA's Bharat Bandh over the same issue.
The bandh has affeted life in Odisha. Public transport has been hit according to media reports. There are also reports of closure of schools at many places in the state due to the bandh.
Parties not supporting Bandh
However, many political parties have stayed away from the bandh. Trinamool Congress which reduced ruling UPA-II to minority by announcing to pull out its 19 MPs from the coalition, has opposed the bandh stating that a bandh served no purpose.
She said that taking advantage of the diesel price hike, the prices of some commodities were sought to be increased and a bandh would further aggravate the situation.
"We will not allow bandh forcibly," she said. She said that offices in West Bengal would remain open on Thursday and state-run buses and trams would be on the roads.
Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which has 21 members of Parliament in Lok Sabha, too said it will not participate in the nation-wide strike called by opposition parties on Thursday.
Samajwadi Party has expressed displeasure on government's decision on FDI and diesel price. It announced stir against government's decisions on diesel, LPG and FDI. The party has 22 MPs in Lok Sabha.
Congress ally DMK, however, has decided to support the bandh. DMK president M Karunanidhi asked party workers and front organisations to participate in the strike and make it a success. Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) too has decided not to participate in the countrywide strike.
With the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena staying away from the bandh, the BJP is banking upon support from JD(U) and traders' bodies of the nation. Various associations of traders and retailers have backed the bandh.
Traders' body CAIT said its members in different states will observe bandh in protest against the government's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail sector.
"All traders and retailers across Mumbai and Thane will down their shutters. We are not supporting any political party but fighting a battle for our own survival," said Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Associations.
Several leaders of different political parties, which are also observing the nation-wide bandh, will address a rally of retail traders at Jantar Mantar, Secretary General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Praveen Khandelwal said.
About 25,000 trade associations representing five crore traders, hawkers, labourers and farmers will participate in the bandh, Khandelwal claimed.
To discourage government employees from participating in bandh, the government in Assam would enforce pay cut, break in service and disciplinary action against employees who do not report for work during 'Bharat Bandh'on Thursday.
Parties supporting bandh
BJP, JD(U), CPI(M)-led Left Front, Samajwadi Party, DMK, Traders' body CAIT
Parties not participating in bandh
Trinamool Congress, BSP, Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM), MNS, Shiv Sena
Tag : #Bharat bandh
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