The nationwide bandh against petrol price hike on Thursday affected normal life in SAD-BJP ruled Punjab,but evoked a mixed response in Congress-led Haryana. However,emergency services,including hospitals and chemist shops remained open.
As the SAD-BJP supported the nation-wide bandh call given by NDA,commercial establishments including shops,markets at most of the places in Punjab though factories and other industrial units were operational. While there was a complete shutdown in Hoshiarpur,Amritsar,Sangrur,Jalandhar,SBS Nagar,Muktsar and Faridkot,the effect was partial in Fategarh Sahib,Barnala and Patiala.
A report from Phagwara said that shopkeepers were seen shutting down their shutters in the morning as protesters belonging to SAD and BJP forced them to do so. In Patiala,strength of students in government schools was also negligible even as many private schools in the city declared holiday in view of the bandh.
Chief Parliamentary Secretary Som Parkash and Markfed Chairman Jarnail Singh Wahid along with SAD-BJP workers blocked traffic on NH 1 in front of the bus stand.
In Qadian,former minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and his son Jagroop Singh Sekhwan burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Road transport takes a hit
Road transport was also hit due to the bandh,with majority of buses,including private ones,remaining off the road in Punjab,causing inconveniences to people. Truckers,fearing damage to their vehicles,also did not ply in the wake of the bandh call. Majority of truck owners are not plying their vehicles during the bandh as they fear their trucks could get damaged during protests on road and most importantly the ruling party (SAD-BJP) is supporting it, said a Ludhiana based transporter Gurdeep Singh.
The Akali Dal and BJP workers led by Ropar MLA and SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema sat on a dharna at Nangal Chowk and blocked traffic on Ropar-Chandigarh road and National Highway No 21 (Chandigarh Manali) and criticised the Congress led Centre for burdening the people with steepest hike in the petrol prices. In Amritsar,SAD activists led by Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia rode a bicycle to submit memorandum to the city Deputy Commisioner to register their protest against the petrol price hike.
Similarly in Faridkot,MP Paramjit Kaur Gulshan led the protests,while Moga saw former minister Tota Singh demandig a rollback of the hike in petrol prices.
Meanwhile,Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said that todays bandh call was a a warning signal for the UPA government and its anti-people policies.
Congress,which talks much about the common man,always adopts policies that makes common mans life more miserable, Sukhbir said,adding that the price hike effected by Centre was much higher compared to rise in oil prices globally.
Rail traffic disrupted
In Chandigarh,rail traffic was disrupted as BJP activists held a demonstration close to the Chandigarh railway station causing detention of a few trains,including the New Delhi-Chandigarh-Kalka Himalayan Queen and the New Delhi-Chandigarh-Kalka Shatabdi Express.
Another train running between Bhiwani and Kalka also got held up due to the protest. Paschim Express,headed for Mumbai,was also halted at Chandigarh station.
In Congress ruled Haryana,the nationwide bandh call evoked mixed response. However,in Ambala Cantt,Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar,normal life was paralysed as bandh remained effective. Report from Hisar and Kaithal said that the commercial establishments including shops and markets remained open and buses plied as usual. According to the Haryana police officers,no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state.
Dhumal walks to office
Meanwhile,in another BJP ruled state,Himachal Pradesh,Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal registered his protest against the petrol price hike by walking to his office from his official residence.
It was a symbolic protest. The hike has affected the masses and we are with them, Dhumal said.
BJP MLA Suresh Bhardwaj and other leaders took out a procession from Deputy Commissioners officer to Sher-e-Punjab.
The Communist Party of India ( Marxist) also organised a Chakka Jam at Victory Tunnel for nearly two hours. Newly elected Mayor,Sanjay Chauhan,and his deputy Tikender Singh Panwar also joined the party men at Victory Tunnel.
The party activists also stopped narrow gauge train at Summerhill station, said Vijendra Mehra,CPM spokesman.
WITH INPUTS from JALANDHAR,AMRITSAR