Congress, regional parties call for ‘Bharat bandh’ on Monday: Key developments

New Delhi: Increasing fuel prices have brought all opposition parties together against Narendra Modi government. As on Sunday, petrol price skyrocketed to Rs 80.50 a litre in Delhi, Rs. 87.89 in Mumbai.

In protest, the Congress along with 20 other political parties is set to stage a nationwide strike or ‘Bharat bandh’ on Monday. Normal life is expected to be disrupted tomorrow as the opposition parties have vowed to make the bandh a success, and schools and colleges in several states have declared a holiday on Monday.

The Bharat bandh will be observed in several states like Maharashtra, Bihar Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu – where the regional parties at opposition have pledged their support.

Here are the key developments about Monday’s ‘Bharat Bandh’.

Why is nationwide band observed: Congress along with other opposition parties has called for a nationwide bandh on Monday(September 10) to protest against ‘price rise’, ‘fall’ of rupee against the dollar and other issues that ‘affect’ the people across the country.

Time of the Bandh: The Bandh will be observed from 9 am to 3 pm on Monday, September 10. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the party had chosen the timing of the bandh in a manner that the common man will not be “inconvenienced” due to it.

Who are Supporting the Bandh: While the Congress has called for the nationwide strike to corner the government, the DMK in Tamil Nadu, the JDS(S) in Karnataka and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) have vowed to extend support the strike. The Samajwadi Party and the National Congress Party (NCP) have also pledged their support for the bandh.

On Sunday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) said, in a statement, that the party would “actively participate” in the bandh. A few of the Left parties, including the ones in West Bengal, have also called for the bandh on Monday.

States where bandh is being observed:

Odisha: The Odisha government has directed all schools to remain closed on September 10. 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.

Karnataka: JD(S), which runs a coalition government with the Congress, has also extended support to the bandh. Additionally, 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 are also extending their support to the protest.

West Bengal: On the other hand, the Trinamool Congress said that it backs 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.

Goa: The Goa unit of the Congress has said it will not take part in the nation-wide Bandh called by the party on Monday to protest fuel price rise. It aims to avoid causing any inconvenience to local people ahead of the Ganesh festival.

Madhya Pradesh: The Congress unit here will also observe the bandh. Digvijay Singh was seen roaming around old Bhopal on Sunday to seek support for bandh.

Bihar: RJD will support the bandh in the state. In fact, a senior leader of Lalu Prasad’s party announced that the RJD would organise “jail bharo” next, in the month of January, to “uproot” Narendra Modi-led government – which has “failed on all fronts especially in taming the fuel prices”.

Maharashtra: Opposition parties appealed Shiv Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP, to support the Bharat Bandh against rising prices. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party had put up posters last night, questioning ruling BJP on its promise of ‘achhe din’. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has also asked party members to observe bandh.

Tamil Nadu: Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, including the DMK, have extended their support to the Bharat Bandh. Leaders of Left parties in the state held a meeting on Friday to discuss the strategy for making the bandh a success.

Haryana: The ‘Haryana Bandh’, called by the INLD, has already taken place on Saturday. Shops remained shut in Ambala, Sirsa, Sonipat, Panipat Rohtak and Kaithal districts. Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) workers, led by the party’s local leaders, asked shopkeepers in some parts of the state, including Jind, Ambala and Jhajjar, to keep their shops shut to support the bandh. Security arrangements were made by the police to prevent any untoward situation.

Kerala: The Opposition parties’ response here is lukewarm as the state is yet to recover from the flood devastation. While the Congress has appealed people to observe bandh, Muslim League has announced to not support the call. Deputy leader of opposition in state assembly, MK Muneer said that his party has requested the Congress leadership to spare the state from the shutdown as it is yet to recover from the effects of deluge.

Telangana: The District Congress Committee (DCC) has appealed to people and party cadre to make Bharat Bandh a success. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Namindla Srinivas and city Congress president Katla Srinivas said the ever-increasing fuel prices hit terribly the lower and middles class people. Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan has also extended his support. “The fuel price was increased by 48 paise per litre on Friday, and within 24 hours, it rose by another 39 paise. In Hyderabad, it was Rs 85 per litre. The residents are being robbed off with the rising petrol prices,” he said, adding that petrol and diesel should be brought under GST.