There was lukewarm response to the call for “Bharat Bandh” to protest against the entry of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector.

Most shops in the city's commercial areas such as Hampankatta, K.S. Rao Road, and P.V.S. Circle remained open. Barring one or two shops that had been closed, it looked like business as usual.

However, G. Mohandas Prabhu, president, Old Bunder Wholesale Kirana Merchants' Association, which represents 105 shops in Bunder area, said 75 per cent of the shops were closed and retail shops that were in the unorganised sector were opened.

He said: “Our people are the ones to be affected. They are in the business of foodgrains, pulses, sugar, and edible oil. With FDI coming into this sector, it means we will be finished.”

Their customers are small “kirana” stores that buy the commodities from these shops and sell them.

Speaking at a demonstration held by the CPI (M) in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office on Wednesday, K.R. Shriyan, Deputy Secretariat member of CPI(M), said , the Government wanted the U.S. culture and not an independent country.