With the Congress, supported by JD(S), its ally in the coalition government, and other parties, participating in the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by it to protest the rise in prices of petroleum products, normal life was thrown out of gear in Karnataka.
Roads had been looking deserted since morning as government buses and private taxis did not ply. The only vehicles visible were some were autorickshaws. Business establishments, shops, malls, and certain private enterprises remained closed too.
Hundreds of slogan-shouting workers belonging to the Congress, JD(S), Left parties and various other outfits took to the streets to ensure the bandh was a success. They raised against the hike in petrol and diesel prices.
Even though elaborate security arrangements were made by the Karnataka Police in view of the bandh, incidents of stone pelting at hotels and shops, which remained open, were reported from Mangaluru.
The shutdown was successful in many other parts of the state including Tumakuru, Ramanagar, Mandya, Channapatna, Hassan, Mangaluru, Chamarajnagar, Mysuru. Hubballi, Bidar and Kolar.
BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa condemned the shutdown and called it a conspiracy by the coalition government.
“It’s an ill-intended bandh to trouble the common man and mislead them. This bandh is benefiting only the extortionists. People know what’s happening. Nowhere in the country it’s successful except for Karnataka because it’s a conspiracy of the Congress and JD(S),” he said.
Meanwhile, the bandh evoked mixed response in Jammu and Kashmir.
In Jammu, Congress activists protested in RS Pura area even as shops, public transport, businesses and educational institutions functioned normally.
In Srinagar and other district headquarters, there was no response to the shutdown.
Residents, however, expressed anger at the rising prices.
In West Bengal, too the response was lukewarm. Vehicular traffic plied normally, the Metro service functioned as usual.
The ruling Trinamool Congress had opposed the strike and said the state government would take every possible step to ensure public life remained unaffected.
In Kolkata, most of the shops and markets remained open and .
However, the number of commuters were significantly less in the early hours compared to other working days.
The train service in Sealdah and Howrah section under the Eastern Railway was temporarily disrupted as protesters blocked rail movements in Jadavpur and Sreerampur stations. They were removed by the police soon.
No untoward incidents of violence or clashes were reported.
In Jharkhand, as many as 58 Congress activists were taken into police custody for forcibly trying to enforce the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by the party, a police officer said.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left parties in Jharkhand are supporting the bandh.