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Bharat Bandh today: Congress shutdown over fuel prices garners widespread support, normal life affected in many states

While on one hand, parties like BJD, AAP, TMC, Shiv Sena are not supporting the shutdown call by Congress, parties including DMK, SP, BSP, NCP, RLD, RJD, CPI, CPM, AIDUF, NC, JMM are backing it.

Reported by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: September 10, 2018 10:57 IST ]
Image Source : FILE/PTI

Bharat Bandh on Monday: Schools, transport services likely to be hit; Banks to function normally

The nationwide bandh called by Congress-led Opposition on September 10 (Monday) against the rising prices of petrol and diesel have so far garnered widespread support. The protest has hit schools, colleges and transport services. Trains and buses were targets of stone pelting and arson in at least Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Bihar.

According to the protest clarion issued by Congress, the Bharat Bandh intends to raise voice against 'price rise', 'fall' of rupee against the dollar and other issues that 'affect' the people across the country.

While on one hand, parties like BJD, AAP, TMC, Shiv Sena are not supporting the shutdown call by Congress, parties including DMK, SP, BSP, NCP, RLD, RJD, CPI, CPM, AIDUF, NC, JMM are backing it.

Here's how states have geared up for the bandh call on Monday:

Karnataka: 

JD(S), which runs a coalition government with the Congress in Karnataka, has also extended support to the bandh. So has a host of organisations such as Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, KSRTC, BMTC, Ola and Uber Drivers and Owners Association, Private Taxi Owners Association, Tours and Travels Taxi Association, Auto Drivers' Association.

State president of JD(S) Adagur H Vishwanath told reporters that the Central government was working as an agent of corporates. "We are witnessing lawlessness in this country. The BJP government at the Centre is working as an agent of corporates," he said. 

Karnataka Government has declared public holiday on Monday for schools and colleges in Bengaluru as a precautionary measure ahead of the bandh. 

Bihar 

The RJD announced Saturday its support to the Congress-called 'Bharat bandh' to protest against sky-rocketing fuel prices. RJD national vice president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh informed reporters in Patna about the party's decision to extend support to Congress and Left sponsored countrywide shutdown on Monday.

"We have to strengthen our opposition's unity in the proposed Bharat bandh... We will be actively participating in Bharat bandh for people's interest," Singh said at the party office. He said with the pace the fuel prices are increasing everyday, it seems that prices of petrol and diesel will soon touch the century mark.

Both the central and state governments are charging tax together 50 per cent of the total price of petrol/diesel per litre, Singh said, adding that the centre has raked in around Rs 11 lakh crore in the past four years by levying excise duty on petro products.

West Bengal 

The ruling-party TMC has decided to stay away from Bharat bandh in West Bengal. On Friday, TMC said that it backed the issues that led to the Opposition parties to call for the shutdown like rising prices of essential commodities, but ruled out its participation.

Along with the TMC, the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), a constituent of the Left Front too decided to stay away accusing major partner CPI(M)'s central leadership of not consulting it before taking the call.

The West Bengal Congress Saturday termed the ruling TMC's stand on the September 10 bandh "self-contradictory" and blamed it for compounding the problem of rising fuel prices by imposing VAT on petrol and diesel. 

Odisha

The Odisha government on Saturday directed all schools to remain closed on September 10 in view of the proposed 'Bharat Bandh' called by the Congress.

School and Mass Education Department Secretary PK Mohapatra, in a letter to district collectors, said that all schools, both government and private, should remain shut on Monday.

Earlier, the state government had directed all district collectors to take preventive measures to maintain law and order and ensure maintenance of essential services in the districts during the planned strike.

Goa 

While, the Congress party is spearheading the Bharat Bandh across the country, its Goa unit has decided not to observe the protest to avoid inconvenience to local people ahead of the Ganesh festival. State Congress spokesperson Vijay Bhike said that the party will not observe the Bandh in Goa, because it will come in the way of people's shopping ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi which is on September 13.

"We support the call given by our party at the national level but we won't have a Bandh in Goa as people are busy shopping for the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities," he said.

Maharashtra

Shiv Sena spurned Congress' request to participate in the Bharat Bandh. Speaking to reporters here, Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said he had made the request to Sena.

"It is not just the Congress but NCP, MNS, Samajwadi Party and others too are supporting the bandh," he said at the press conference.

"We expect Shiv Sena to support it. I have personally spoken to (Sena Rajya Sabha MP) Sanjay Raut about coming out in the open against the price hike, but we are still waiting for their response," Chavan informed.

Responding to the Congress' request, Raut said Sena won't participate in the bandh. "The opposition should show their unity. The Sena is looking at the bandh neutrally," he said.

"This issue (price hike of petroleum products) has affected the common man to a large extent. There is lot of discontent among people regarding it," Chavan said.

The Congress leader said that with the rise in prices of petroleum products, the government was trying to take money out of the common man's pockets.

Chavan said his party was in favour of petroleum products coming under GST, but till then, central excise duty and other taxes, which he said is the reason for the price hike, should be reduced.

"There is talk about petrol and diesel being brought under GST. We will appreciate that, but until it is implemented, we demand that central excise duty and other tax levied by the Central and state governments should be immediately reduced," he said.

The Raj Thackeray led MNS Sunday announced it was supporting the bandh. In a statement, Thackeray said MNS will not only back but also actively participate in the bandh. 

Madhya Pradesh:

Madhya Pradesh Congress has urged people to make the Bharat Bandh a successful one even as an association of fuel pump owners in the state said that their establishments would remain open. Congress leaders said that 21 opposition parties as well as several chambers of commerce and traders' bodies were backing its shutdown call. Appealing to people to make the shutdown successful, MP Congress chief Kamal Nath said that these leaders (from the BJP) used to vehemently protest during the Congress-led UPA government when petrol prices rose to Rs 55 per litre.

Jammu and Kashmir:

Claiming the Centre was not doing enough to bring down the prices of petrol or diesal, a senior Congress leader Sunday appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to support the nation-wide strike call given by his party over rising fuel prices in the country. 

"We appeal to all concerned citizens and organisations to observe a voluntary bandh (strike) from 9 am to 3 pm tomorrow (Monday) to protest against the unprecedented hike on petrol, diesel, domestic gas and other essential commodities,” AICC secretary co-incharge Jammu and Kashmir affairs Shakeel Ahmad Khan told reporters here.  He said a nationwide call for 'Bharat bandh' was given by the Congress and other like-minded parties to draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government towards the plight of the common man.  Khan claimed the Modi government had already collected over Rs 11 lakh crore as tax on petrol, diesel and gas, which he alleged was an "open loot" of the budget of common people.

Tripura:

Even as the Tripura government expressed its determination to maintain normalcy during the opposition-called shutdown, the Congress and Left Front leaders were on Sunday pulling out all stops to ensure its success in the state.

The Tripura government has ordered all its employees to attend office on Monday and warned of strict action against absentees. Acting Chief Minister and Revenue Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma urged the people to reject the 'bandh' and maintain normalcy. He said that panchayat by-election process was on in Tripura.

"Also, preparations are on for Durga Puja. The September 10 strike will severely hamper the bypoll process as well as preparation for the festival," Debbarma said. He asserted that the state government would strongly deal with the situation to ensure normalcy.

A police official said large numbers of central paramilitary and police would be deployed all over Tripura. State-run Tripura Road Transport Corporation has announced special bus services on Monday during the dawn-to-dusk strike.

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