The Congress party called for a Bharat Bandh today against rising fuel prices. Along with Opposition parties like DMK, NCP, RJD, JD(S), that extended their support, Congress also asked civil society groups and NGOs to join the nationwide protest. Though the bandh was declared successful in Madhya Pradesh, it turned violent in Pune and some parts of Mumbai where buses were vandalised. A number of Congress supporters were arrested in Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and other parts of the country.
When is Bharat Bandh?
The bandh will be observed across the country on September 10, between 9 am and 3 pm. Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said the timing of the bandh is such that “the common person is not inconvenienced”. Follow LIVE UPDATES here.
Why is the Opposition calling for bandh?
Stating the increase in fuel prices and excise duties on them as the reason behind the call for Bharat Bandh, the Opposition accused the ruling BJP government of fleecing the common man. An immediate reduction of central excise duty and excessive VAT in the states, bringing petrol and diesel under the ambit of GST are amongst some of the demands of the Opposition.
Surjewala claimed the prices of petrol and diesel have gone up by around 50 per cent while the excise duties on petrol and diesel have risen by 211 and 443 per cent, respectively, since 2014.
Blaming the BJP-led government for failing on multiple fronts, rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav also raised the issue of increasing attacks against Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs. Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said the bandh is to awaken the government and vent the people’s anger.
Who all are supporting the bandh?
Several opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party, DMK and the NCP have extended their support to the strike. While the Left parties have given a separate call for bandh on the same day, the Trinamool Congress will organise street protests but would not enforce a shutdown in West Bengal. Parties like the RJD, JD(S), JVM and JMM have also lent their support to the call for bandh.
Top opposition leaders, including Congress’s Ashok Gehlot and Ahmed Patel, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and NCP’s Tariq Anwar met at Sharad Yadav’s residence during which the decision to call a bandh was finalised.
Where will the bandh be observed?
The Bharat Bandh will be observed in several states like Maharashtra, Bihar Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, where regional opposition parties have come in support of the bandh call. In West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress said it supported the issues raised by the Opposition but it was against the shutdown and the West Bengal government would take all measures to maintain the public utility services on Monday.