New Delhi: Normal life in many parts of the country has been disturbed following a nationwide ‘bandh’ called on by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left parties against the Congress-led UPA government’s decision to hike fuel prices.
Parties taking part in the shutdown also include, the Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Telugu Desam Party, Shiv Sena, AIADMK, MDMK and Akali Dal.
Some parties not participating include, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Lok Janshakti Party.
Heavy security arrangements have been made across the country, but the impact of the bandh is clearly visible in most of the states.
In New Delhi, flight services are running on schedule at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, as well as the domestic airport, but Metro services were blocked at the Karol Bagh Station.
Train services at the New Delhi Railway Station are normal, but BJP activists have disrupted services at Nizamuddin, Mundka and Anand Vihar stations.
According to reports, around 100 BJP activists also blocked the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station in Connaught Place.
In Kolkata, private airlines have shut down operations in the wake of the bandh.
Only the state run Air India would be operating flights till noon, and then resume operations after 6 pm.
In Andhra Pradesh, BJP and TDP are spearheading the strike. Over 1,200 buses are off the road in the state, while four buses were vandalised by the protesters.
Violent incidents have been reported from Maharashtra, where Shiv Sainiks have gone on a rampage in several areas.
At least 15 buses were vandalised in Pune, and 100 BJP workers led by Kirit Somaya were arrested for blocking train services in Mumbai.
At least 84 flights to and from Mumbai have also been cancelled.
In Bangalore, all buses and autos are staying off the road.
In Uttar Pradesh, train services have been affected in Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi and other parts of the state.
At least 10 express trains have been stopped in Patna, while all buses and autos are also staying off the roads in Bihar.
No vehicular movement has been reported from Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Earlier, on Sunday, the BJP had taken out a rally in Bangalore, where party chief Nitin Gadkari had slammed the Union government, and called on people to ‘support’ the party in its initiative.
“I just want to tell you this that inflation, starvation and unemployment are not because of your caste, religion or language. The wrong policies of the Congress government and corrupt administration, wrong economic policies and bad governance, this is the reason of our downfall,” Gadkari said.
“That’s why we are expressing anger towards the government through nationwide shutdown on the roads across India. I request all of you to support us in the nationwide shutdown,” he added.
Senior BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu, Anant Kumar and Karnataka state chief B. S. Yeddyurappa were also present at the rally.
The Union government had raised petrol and diesel prices on June 25, as part of a plan to move towards a market-determined fuel price regimen in accordance with the Kirit Parikh Committee recommendation.
The decision means that price of petrol has been raised by Rs. 3.73 per litre and diesel by Rs. 2.
The fuel price rises are expected to push up monthly price inflation by 0.9 percentage points, exacerbating inflation that stood at a surprisingly high 10.16 percent in May.