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Lukewarm response to Bharat bandh in Congress-ruled state

The call for Bharat bandh evoked little response in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana with most shopkeepers and private players continuing with business as usual.

Updated: Sep 10, 2018 21:57:12

By HT Correspondent

State Congress president Sunil Jakhar along with MP Santokh Chaudhary raising slogans against Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi over steep hike in petrol and diesel prices during a protest rally in Jalandhar on Monday. (Pardeep Pandit/HT)

The call for Bharat bandh evoked little response in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana with most shopkeepers and private players continuing with business as usual. The Congress party had called for a nationwide ‘Bharat Bandh’ against the continuous rise in petrol and diesel prices and the drop in rupee’s value against the US Dollar.

Tricity

In Chandigarh, some parts of Sector 27, 28 and 30 markets remained closed while the rest of the city was open. The Congress protesters congregated at the Sector 22 and 23 light point around 10 am and were planning to visit various markets to impose a shutdown.

However, most market welfare organisations, including the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, have chosen not to participate in the bandh. The educational institutes are also open.

Charanjiv Singh, chairman of the Beopar Mandal said, “Our organisation is strictly non-political and no market organisations will be participating in this bandh.”



In Panchkula, all markets and education institutes remained open and there were no protests or rallies by Congress.

Mohali witnessed partial bandh when Congress workers staged a protest in Phase 3B2 market. Local MLA and minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said the Central government has failed to contain the fuel prices. “Previous government led by Congress succeeded in containing the fuel prices despite global price pressure. This time, global prices are quite low but the government is constantly increasing the prices,” he said.

Punjab

There was little impact of the bandh in Punjab where the state government had notified a gazetted public holiday on the occasion of Parkash Purb to mark the installation of Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple. All private offices, banks and shops remained open in the holy city on Monday despite the bandh call.

Jalandhar: The bandh got partial response in Jalandhar district where the Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar led the protest march. Raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, Jalandhar MP Santokh Chaudhary and other Congress leaders, who were accompanying Jakhar, were seen requesting shopkeepers to down their shutters to support the shutdown. Barring shops in markets such as Mai Hiran Gate area, shops remained open for most part of the day in most areas. Banks and commercial establishments also functioned as usual.

Jakhar said the Centre had turned a “blind eye” to the sufferings of common man who had been severely hit because of raising rates of petrol and diesel. “The Congress government has not increased the VAT after coming to power in the state. The rates were hiked during the previous government,” he said.

Amritsar: The bandh call received a lukewarm response in the holy city as all private offices, banks, and shops remained open. Even workers and leaders of the District Congress Committee stayed away due to Parkash Purb celebrations.

Activists of Left parties staged a protest at Bhandari Bridge and burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the rising prices of fuel prices.

Protest marches were taken out in Tarn Taran district. Baring a few private establishments, shops and markets remained open as usual.

Bhatinda: The shutdown call received tepid response with the majority of business establishments remaining open throughout the day.

While shopkeepers downed their shutters in markets such as Dhobi Bazaar and along Amrik Singh Road for some time, it was business as usual in other parts of the city. Separate protests were held by workers of the Congress and Left parties including CPI, CPI (M) and CPI-ML (Liberation). The Congress supporters gathered at Sadbhawna Chowk and took a protest march in the city.

Hoshiarpur : A partial bandh was observed in the district where cabinet minister Sunder Sham Arora led the Congress protest march and appealed to shopkeepers to shut their enterprises to express their solidarity on the issue. He said his party had taken the initiative in the interest of the consumers who were bearing the brunt of rising prices. “We have hit the roads to press the Central government to control oil prices,” said the minister. In Chabbewal, a demonstration was held against the Centre by MLA Raj Kumar and other leaders of the ruling party.

Gurdaspur: Local legislator Barindermeet Singh Pahra led the protest even as Congress supporters were going from market to market appealing to shopkeepers to keep their shutters down. Shops were shut for a few hours, but most of them opened in the second half of the day.

Ludhiana: Cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu led the protest in Ludhiana. They took out the protest march in the city on a rickshaw at Clock Tower Chowk and lambasted the BJP government for rising fuel prices.

In Patiala, cabinet minister Sadhu Singh led party workers in holding demonstration against the ruling BJP over increased fuel rates.

Haryana

The bandh call evoked poor response in the Karnal region even though Congress workers took out a protest march in the markets, asking reluctant shopkeepers to join them.

Some shopkeepers agreed to shut their shops, only to reopen them after the Congress workers left.

Some shopkeepers objected to the repeated bandhs by political parties.

“There is a Bharat bandh call on every third day and the shopkeepers are being targeted by these political parties. What will we earn if we shut our shops every day,” said Jitender Kumar, owner of a general store in Nilokheri of Karnal.

State Congress president Sunil Jakhar along with MP Santokh Chaudhary participated in a protest rally in Jalandhar. The city witnessed a mixed response as shops were partially closed in some parts of the city.

Himachal Pradesh

Commuters across Himachal Pradesh had harrowing time as around 3,500 private buses went off the road on Monday. Private bus operators had called a strike to demand a hike in bus fares much before the Bharat bandh was announced.

Fuel prices have been on an upswing, and the day of the bandh saw another hike in the prices

Petrol price (Rs) on Monday - Panchkula 81.13, Mohali 89.46, Chandigarh 77.73

Petrol price (Rs) on Sunday - Panchkula 80.90, Mohali 89.22, Chandigarh 77.51

Diesel price (Rs) on Monday -Panchkula 73.64, Mohali 73.19, Chandigarh 70.81

Diesel price (Rs) on Sunday -Panchkula 73.42, Mohali 72.98, Chandigarh 70.60

First Published: Sep 10, 2018 14:03:50

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