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Updated: April 28, 2010 02:38 IST

Nationwide bandh against price rise hits normal life

Gargi Parsai
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Deserted look of EM By-Pass during office hours on Tuesday. The roads of Kolkata was out of all mode transports during the 12-hour nation-wide bandh called by 13 non-NDA and non-UPA parties to protest against price rise hit normal life and affected air and rail services in Left-ruled states of West Bengal. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury.
The Hindu Deserted look of EM By-Pass during office hours on Tuesday. The roads of Kolkata was out of all mode transports during the 12-hour nation-wide bandh called by 13 non-NDA and non-UPA parties to protest against price rise hit normal life and affected air and rail services in Left-ruled states of West Bengal. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury.

While the Left parties assert that bandh was a grand success, the Congress as termed it a "complete failure"

The nation-wide bandh observed by 13 non-United Progressive Alliance and non-National Democratic Alliance parties on Tuesday to protest against the rise in prices of essential commodities paralysed normal life in West Bengal, Kerala, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh. The bandh evoked mixed response in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Haryana, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. Several persons were detained for trying to enforce the bandh.

The bandh was partial in Jharkhand, Manipur and Assam and had virtually no impact in Delhi. Air and rail services were the worst hit in West Bengal and Kerala where the streets wore a deserted look. Educational institutions, offices, banks, post offices, shops and markets remained closed in most parts of the two Left-ruled States.

Trains cancelled

The Eastern and South Eastern Railway cancelled or detained a number of trains. About 32 long-distance trains were stranded at various stations during the 12-hour bandh. Two train passengers were reportedly injured in clashes between the strikers and the travelling public in Hoogly district. Morning flights in Kolkata were either grounded or delayed.

While the Left parties described the bandh as a “grand success,” the ruling Congress termed it a “complete failure except where it was sponsored by State governments.” Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad claimed that a “total bandh” was implemented in Bihar. Leaders of these parties staged a demonstration on the Parliament house precincts in the morning.

The bandh was most violent in Uttar Pradesh where Samajwadi Party protesters, shouting slogans against the UPA and the Bahujan Samaj Party government, torched buses and squatted on the railway track. Police detained several SP workers including its Uttar Pradesh unit president Akhilesh Yadav. In Bihar, Lok Jan Shakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan was arrested.

The bandh was a two-pronged strategy of the 13 parties to corner the UPA government on the issue of rising prices. In Parliament, they moved cut motions on the demand for grants of various Ministries.

The 13 parties that gave a joint call for the bandh were: the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the All-India Forward Bloc, the SP, the RJD, the Indian National Lok Dal, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the Janata Dal (Secular), the Telugu Desam Party, the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Biju Janata Dal and the LJP.

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