BHARAT Bandh called by the Congress and supported by other parties protesting rising prices of petroleum fuels affected normal life on Monday in several states including Karnataka, Kerala, parts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tripura and Tamil Nadu. Rahul Gandhi along with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh led the protest and called for overthrowing the Narendra Modi led NDA government for making the lives of the commoners miserable .
Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress on Friday said it supported the issues raised by political parties that called for a nationwide shutdown adding that it will however hold protest rallies in West Bengal as it is against strikes since these lead to waste of working hours.”We support the issues raised by them. But at the same time, we do not want to waste another working day, especially when our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to build a new Bengal. This kind of strike or bandh will certainly stop progress and lead to loss of earnings for the state’s people,” Trinamool Congress Secretary General Partha Chatterjee told reporters.”A protest march will be held in the heart of Kolkata. It will start from Moulali Crossing in central Kolkata and end at Dorina Crossing in the Esplanade area. All TMC district units are advised to hold similar rallies and organize street corner meetings in their respective places,” he said.In Odisha, train services were disrupted in many places across the state as protesters blocked railway tracks in several places including Bhubaneswar, Khurda Road, Puri, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Balasore to enforce the bandh from 6 am to 3 pm. At least 10 trains were cancelled in the jurisdiction of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) in view of the ‘Bharat Bandh’, an ECoR official said.The protesters also locked the ticket counter of the famous Sun Temple in Konark. As a result, the temple was closed.
In New Delhi, attacking the NDA government, Rahul Gandhi y questioned Prime Minister Modi’s silence on the rising fuel prices. “PM Modi has failed to deliver on the promises made to the country. The Rupee value has never been this weak in the past 70 years,” he said.
Speaking to media during the Bharat Bandh ,he also thanked the other Opposition parties for extending support to the shutdown against the rising fuel prices as well as the fall in the value of the Rupee.
The BJP, hit back at the Congress calling the bandh a “flop show,” saying the government had no control over the fuel price hike. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad slammed the AICC for the “violent” protests taking across the country. ” It’s the essence of democracy that hospitals, ambulances, and medicine shops are allowed to function without any hindrance. But, with the death of 2-year-old in Bihar today, an environment of fear is being created,” he said.
Multiple parties including SP, BSP, TMC, DMK and RJD, as well as several chambers of commerce and traders’ bodies, have backed the Bharat bandh call. Five Left Front parties have given a separate call for bandh over the hike in fuel prices, the problem of farmers and unemployment issues.
In Mumbai, ambulance prevented from reaching hospital. Reports of smashing on petrol pumps were received from several states. Congress party should answer who are responsible for these mindless violence, said BJP.