In the wake of the National Democratic Alliance's call for a Bharat bandh on May 31, demanding a complete rollback of the steep hike in petrol price, the Mahayuti — the political alliance of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena and the Republican Party of India (Athawale) — on Tuesday exhorted the public in Maharashtra to participate in the shutdown.

State BJP president Sudhir Mungantiwar and Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai told reporters that essential services would excluded from the bandh and all efforts would be made to make sure that students appearing for examinations did not face any trouble.

Mr. Mungantiwar said the petrol price in Mumbai (Rs. 78.57) was among the steepest in the country. He called for the ouster of the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance in the State.

The Mahayuti leaders attacked the NCP for trading barbs with its own ally, the Congress over the issue.

Mr. Mungantiwar said this exposed the NCP's double standards. “If it [the NCP] is serious about the issue, then it should withdraw from the government instead of merely criticising its ally.”

Mr. Desai said Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray would be present during the shutdown.

When asked if Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) would support the shutdown, Mr. Desai said any party was free to join the agitation.

Sources in the Mahayuti told The Hindu that the bandh would have the tacit support the MNS.