Kolkata/New Delhi – A Bharat Bandh, called by political parties from West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala today to protest against the inconvenience caused to the general public following the NDA government’s demonetisation drive, has evoked mixed response so far.
The main opposition Congress at the Centre and other opposition parties have simultaneously dcided to carry out a ‘Jan Aakrosh Rally’, on the same issue.
The bandh seems fairly successful in Kerala, while response from the other states and regions seem less affected.
The shutdown called by Kerala’s ruling LDF on Monday appeared to be total as only private vehicles plied, offices registered minimal attendances, and normal life was crippled.
The shutdown was called to denounce the demonetisation of high value currency which has left the cooperative banks in the state in turmoil.
The Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have received a mixed response so far.
Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in some areas while there was not much impact elsewhere.
The services of state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) was near normal in both the state.
Activists of Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Congress and YSR Congress Party staged sit-in at RTC depots. Police arrested them as they tried to prevent buses from plying.
The Congress, which is observing it as ‘Jan Akrosh Diwas’ plan to form a human chain at the regional office of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Hyderabad to highlight the problems faced by the people.
Some schools in Hyderabad declared holiday as a precautionary measure. Osmania University, Kakatiya University and Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University (JNTU) postponed their examinations.
The response to the 12-hour bandh in West Benegal was even lesses, as government buses and other private vehicles were seen
plying on the road.
The strike call by the Left Front has been opposed by the ruling TMC in West Bengal.
“We oppose bandhs. We will take out a protest march (against demonetisation) on Monday,” state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said.
Instead, the TMC will take out a rally from College Square to Esplanade today to protest against demonetisation, TMC general secretary Subrata Bakshi had said.
Over 3,000 police personnel have been deployed in the metropolis to tackle any untoward incident, Kolkata Police Additional Commissioner of Police (III) Supratim Sarkar had said.
BSP chief Mayawati today accused the BJP of doing a “Bharat Bandh” by demonetising higher currency currency and said the opposition was not divided over the issue.
“The BJP alleged that the opposition has called a Bharat Bandh, but the fact is that the BJP itself has done a Bharat Bandh by demonetising high currency notes,” Mayawati told the media.
“Our party is concerned about the poor implementation of the demonetisation, which has made life of the poor miserable in the last 20 days.”
(Inputs from PTI, ANI and IANS)