New Delhi: The Congress on Monday called the all-India strike called by Opposition parties to protest against increase in fuel price and rising prices of essential commodities as ” and disruptive” for the country’s progress while the Opposition termed it a big success.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed that the Bharat Bandh, called by the BJP-National Democratic Alliance, the Left and other non-United Progressive Alliance parties, had affected the common man and had in no way helped the country.
“The bandh is intended to disrupt, to obstruct and to cause inconvenience. It is anti-public in interest masquerading as a public interest activity,” said Singhvi while addressing the media in New Delhi.
He said that the Left joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party in calling for and supporting the bandh was negative politics.
“If the Left believes that in duplicating these negative lawless disruptive models into national politics while joining hands and being bed fellows of the BJP is good and principled, then I would say congratulations to the Left,” Singhvi said.
He also said that in Opposition-ruled states the bandh was being enforced by the state government which was unconstitutional.
The NDA justified the bandh, which was near total in many states particularly the Opposition-ruled ones, saying it was for the people and by the people.
In the national capital – BJP President Nitin Gadkari, his party colleague Rajnath Singh and Janata Dal United President chief Sharad Yadav courted arrest at Chandni Chowk where a massive demonstration was held.
Gadkari blamed the Central Government for decontrolling the prices of petroleum products and rising prices while addressing a massive rally.
“The Government had promised that they will reduce the prices in 100 days but the prices have gone up three-four times. Is the Prime Minister worried about the poor people or about the oil companies? What is his priority? Why isn’t Sonia (Congress President Sonia Gandhi) saying anything on this? There is a committee to deal with this then why is it not deciding. Rahul Gandhi goes and eats with the poor. Doesn’t he see that people are hungry? Why does not he say anything?” said Gadkari.
Sharad Yadav claimed that bandh was called as the Government was not ready to listen to the Opposition.
“UPA-II thinks it is invincible. We’ve raised the issue of price rise four times in Parliament. But the Government won’t listen to us. Diesel and petrol costs less in our neighbouring countries,” he said.
Normal life was disrupted in several parts of the country during the Bharat Bandh. NDA and Left-ruled states along with Maharashtra were the worst affected.
Sporadic incidents of violence in which buses and trains were targeted and clashes with police who baton charged the protestors were reported during the day-long nation-wide strike.
CPI-M leader Brinda Karat and CPI’s top brass – AB Bardhan and D Raja – also courted arrest during the bandh in a show of strength by the opposition trying to make common cause on the price rise issue to corner the Congress.
“The people’s discontent has been expressed today. For a democractic government it should not be a prestige issue but they should come and discuss the matter. Today the Central Government is accountable to the fact that there is such an unprecendented support (for the bandh),” Brinda Karat said.