Breaking News
Nagaland Post Logo
You are here:  Skip Navigation LinksHome » Show story
Bharat bandh halts nation
Published on 6 Jul. 2010 12:11 AM IST
Print  Text Size

More than 250 trains were cancelled or disrupted, 100 flights cancelled and millions of people inconvenienced as India was brought virtually to its knees Monday with opposition parties calling for a shutdown against the rise in fuel prices.
Buoyed by the strike’s success, both the Left and BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) vowed that this was not the end.
Describing the nationwide shutdown as an “unprecedented success”, the Left threatened to intensify its protests inside and outside parliament if the government did not roll back the hike.
“The unity achieved on the street is the real unity... The fight against the government will continue,” said a triumphant Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav at press conference with his BJP counterpart Nitin Gadkari.
With the exception of a few states, life was impacted in most parts of India with trucks and buses off the roads, educational establishments and businesses closed. Malls, shopping complexes and government and private offices also stayed shut.
The strike, sponsored by both ends of the political spectrum, the Left and the BJP, was peaceful in many places. But there was sporadic violence too, with 200 buses burnt in Maharashtra.
Opposition leaders, including BJP’s Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajnath Singh, joined their workers in courting arrest in several places. Left leaders Brinda Karat and D. Raja also did the same in New Delhi. The shutdown was total in states ruled by the NDA parties and the Left.
In BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, for instance, life ground to a virtual halt as party workers tried to enforce the strike. Ditto with Bihar, ruled by the Janata Dal-United.
The situation was similar in West Bengal and Kerala, ruled by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), where normal life came to a virtual standstill. The response was tepid in Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana.
In Congress-ruled Delhi, however, opposition workers forced the strike on buses and shops during the protests following the central government’s move to end curbs on petroleum pricing and hike fuel costs in order to tame the huge fiscal deficit.
Rail operations in the country, especially in the east, were severely affected with 73 trains cancelled and 192 disrupted. For passengers who chose to fly to their destinations, it was not much easier with at least 96 flights being cancelled, in many cases because passengers just couldn’t make it to the airport.
If the country’s financial capital was hit, so was the national capital, also ruled by the Congress where opposition leaders courted arrest at various places and activists forced shopkeepers to down shutters and deflated tyres of buses.
Congress reacts
The Congress Monday slammed the opposition for the nationwide shutdown and charged it with indulging in “pure sensationalism”.
Congress party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that people were asking if the shutdown was in their interest or against it.
“Does it (bandh) do anything constructive, solve any problem. Has the opposition offered any constructive suggestions?” Singhvi asked.
He said the opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left, could have raised their issues through the media or in parliament.
“It was indulgence in pure sensationalism,” he said, adding that the Supreme Court had declared bandhs unconstitutional in a 1998 judgement, holding that fundamental rights of people as a whole cannot be subservient to the fundamental rights of a section of people.
He said that a state-sponsored shutdown was even more unconstitutional.
The strike call was “an anti-public interest activity masquerading as a public interest measure”.
Singhvi said the huge subsidy given to meet under-recoveries of oil companies was paid by the government. “They (the opposition) are not applying their mind. They are trying to create sensationalism.”
Singhvi said that kerosene saw a four-fold increase during the National Democratic Alliance government while petrol prices were increased 25 times.
“The increase (by the UPA government) is minimalist, most reasonable and softens the impact of under-recoveries,” he said.
The spokesman said the prices of kerosene had been increased for the first time since the United Progressive Alliance government came to power.
The dawn-to-dusk shutdown call Monday was given by the National Democratic Alliance, the Left and several other non-United Progressive Alliance parties against rising prices of essential commodities and the hike in prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas.

Comments:(0) Login or Register to post your Comment
(Available for registered users only)
More News
  • 1
  • 2