The Opposition called a nation-wide Bandh to oppose the hike in petrol and diesel prices. The Bandh marked the disillusionment of the masses and despite its partial success was an important resistance against the crisis in prevailing times.
The New Leam Staff
In the wake of rising fuel prices and excessive excise duties and increasing value added tax in the country- the Indian National Congress called for “Bharat Bandh” on Monday, September 10 from 9 am – 3pm.
The call for Bandh was initiated by the Congress leadership which has been supported by 21 other Opposition parties like the Communist Party of India, Samajwadi Party, Rashatriya Janta Dal, Nationalist Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Maharastra Navnirman Sena amongst others. Although MNS is supportive of the Bandh but it has claimed to maintain neutrality on it, as stated by the party leader Sanjay Raut.
Bharat Bandh was observed in states like Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, although West Bengal would not allow for the hampering of public utility services in the call for Bandh.
The Congress Chief, Rahul Gandhi, started the Bandh by staging a 2 km long march from Rajghat to Ramlila Maidan in Delhi on Monday Morning. In Mumbai congress Chief Ashok Chavan started the protest by travelling via local train to Andheri Railway Station and further evolving the protest into a rail roko agitation.
As a part of the Bandh, public services like public transportation, schools and universities did not function; businesses and trade associations were not operational.
Bharat Bandh was observed and supported amidst the rising fuel prices, weakening of the rupee and increasing crude oil prices.
The opposition demands that petrol and diesel should be brought under GST so that oil prices could drop by about Rs 15 to Rs 18. As the rise in oil prices have led to a resultant rise in petrol prices by approximately Rs 0.23, was noted that the cost of diesel was Rs 72.83 per liter on Monday.
In Karnataka the Bandh was supported by state road transport corporation staff and worker’s federation by not functioning, although the metro service continued to operate normally. No report of violence was recorded but incidents of stone pelting at hotels and shops near Mangalore were brought to notice.
Bihar witnessed the protest by large number of opposition parties calling the rail and transportation service to standstill and thus affecting the normalcy in the state.
Train and bus services were partially affected in Mumbai and so was the case in Delhi and NCR. States like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, UP, Assam, Telangana were amongst the active states staging the protest.