The call for Bharat Bandh given by Congress party to protest against spiralling rise of fuel prices evoked good response as private schools, colleges, main markets and business establishments remained closed in most parts of the city on Monday. Barring few incidents of forceful shut down of shops in the city by Congress activists, the bandh was peaceful. However, a large number of people faced trouble in getting essential goods.
Despite nation-wide protests, petrol was sold at Rs 86.55 per litre and diesel at Rs 76.83 per litre in city on Monday.Though the bandh call was given up to 3 pm, several business establishments observed it for whole day. City’ major markets – Siyaganj, MT Cloth Market, Sitalamata Bazaar, Malharganj, Bartan Bazaar, Bohra Bazaar, Bajajkhana Chowk, Sarafa, Rajwada, shops along MG Road and Jawahar Marg, 56 Shops, Sukhalia, three grain mandies – were closed till 2 pm. Ahilya Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ramesh Khandelwal said over 40 associate business organisations supported bandh and therefore all shops remained shut.
Congressmen took out rallies in different parts of city to appeal to people to keep their business establishments closed. They raised slogans against fuel hike and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vehicle rallies were held assembly constituency-wise. Congress leaders Aman Bajaj, Pintu Joshi, Ashwin Joshi held rally in constituency 3 while Surjeet Singh Chaddha took out rally in assembly constituency 4. Tulsi Silawat, Raghu Parmar, Pankaj Sanghvi led rallies in other areas.
Activists stop bus at Rajwada
During protest, Congress activists tried to stop a city bus at Rajwada but police foiled their bid. Police officials pacified Congress activists and asked them not to disrupt essential services and public transport. Nevertheless, buses halted at Rajwada for over 30 minutes due to protest.
Two Cong faces: Some distributes roses, others misbehave
City witnessed two faces of Congress party as some of its activists distributed roses, especially in assembly constituency 5 where they appealed to businessmen to shut their shops. Some Congressmen misbehaved with people and forced them to close their shops. Certain Congress activists put water in oil at snacks shop, which was open at Palasia Square. They had heated arguments with a milk vendor in Chhawni. Congress leader Vivek Khandelwal distributed potatoes and flour to shopkeepers who kept shops opened at Tower Chouraha.
On cycle with Shivraj’s mask
A group of Congress activists led by Devendra Singh Yadav moved on bicycles in black dress. They wore mask of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and PM Narendra Modi. A group of activists burnt posters of Narendra Modi at Prince Yeshwant Niwas Road.
Show of strength
Keeping in view assembly elections, Congress leaders seeking tickets from party turned bandh into a show of strength. They arrived with their supporters to show their influence.
Petrol pumps shut, people face trouble
Indore Petrol Dealers’ Association extended support to bandh and kept petrol pumps closed from 9 am to 12 noon. Closure of petrol pumps caused trouble for vehicle owners specially those who had to travel long distance. Long queues were seen outside petrol pumps between 9 am and 12 noon.
CBSE schools close, government schools open
The CBSE and private schools remained closed. Sharing reason, CBSE schools Sahodaya Group secretary Manoj Bajpai said schools were closed in view of students’ safety. Certain schools affiliated to MP board also remained closed. However, government schools remained open and registered good attendance.