The Congress and other opposition parties are today observing Bharat Bandh with reports of violence and blockade of roads and rail traffic being reported from different states.
The Congress and other opposition parties are today observing Bharat Bandh with reports of violence and blockade of roads and rail traffic being reported from different states. In Delhi, the protest was led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He along with leaders of the Congress and other political parties staged a 1.8-km foot march between Rajghat and Zakir Husain College in support of Bharat Bandh. After the end of the march, all the opposition leaders assembled at a petrol pump near the Ramlila Maidan. They all were joined by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Later, Manmohan Singh attacked the Modi government saying ‘it has done a lot which is not in the interest of the nation and has now crossed all limits’.
In Bihar, workers of the RJD and Pappu Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal resorted to violence to lodge their protest. In Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, Congress party workers vandalised a petrol pump.
In Mumbai, the supporters of Raj Thackeray-led MNS were seen forcefully shutting down commercial establishments. The Congress staged a ‘rail roko’ agitation in the financial capital. Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam led thousands of workers to stage a noisy protest outside the Andheri station bus depot. Later they got down on the railway tracks and raised slogans against the BJP government.
So why is the opposition observing Bharat Bandh on Monday?
The Congress party has given a call for a nationwide shutdown today to protest against the steep rise in petrol and diesel prices and the falling value of the rupee against the dollar. A total of 21 political parties including the Congress are participating in today’s bandh. Those who are supporting the Congress’ call include JD(S), RJD, NCP, RLD, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, MNS and others.
Though many opposition parties including Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee who had distanced themselves from Congress’ bandh call, are also protesting against the skyrocketing fuel prices.
On Sunday, the Congress had said that the party wants the government to bring petrol and diesel under the GST ambit which will decrease the price by Rs 15-18. The party had also demanded that there should be an immediate reduction in central excise duty and excessive VAT in the states to give some relief to people. According to the Congress party, the Centre had earned Rs 11 lakh crore in the last 4 years through excise duty on fuel.