Bharat Bandh: MNS is in, Shiv Sena is out

Mumbai: Except for the ruling BJP and its ally, the Shiv Sena, all major political parties, including the Left and the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, have extended their support to a call for Bharat bandh given by the Congress for Monday.

It was a great opportunity for the Sena, too, to give a jolt to the BJP, but it decided to back off, which is part of its fickle flip-flop relations with the senior partner. If the financial capital (Mumbai) shuts down, it sends a very strong message elsewhere in the country. With the MNS committing itself, the strike may elicit a good response in some pockets. As far as commuters are concerned, BEST buses will remain operational as the Bombay Electricity Supply and Transport union, which is controlled by the Sena, has decided not to join the nationwide strike.

However, taxi and train services may be affected as MNS has announced active participation in the bandh and advised residents not to step out of their houses or ply cars on roads. However, the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government is determined that there is no disruption of public utility services during the bandh. The pan-India bandh will be enforced across the country on Monday between 9 am to 3 pm. According to the Congress, the timing of the bandh is such that ‘the common man is not inconvenienced.’ The bandh does not apply to schools, colleges and hospitals. But a call can be taken by the administration on the day of the bandh, depending on the circumstances.

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