Life came to a standstill in most parts of Punjab, where reports from various district headquarters indicated a major response to the "Bharat Bandh" called by various parties including the NDA and the Left front, against Union government’s decision to allow FDI in retail, hike the diesel prices and capping on number of LPG cylinders for domestic use.
In the early parts of the day, Akali Dal and BJP workers went around various commercial establishments and market places to ensure a complete shut down, except some emergency services. While schools remained closed and public transport was off the road, most parts of the urban areas and main highways wore a deserted look. However, shops and markets began to open up in the post noon in the interiors of Amritsar, Ludhiana, and Patiala. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the state till reports last came in.
Elated over the success of the protest, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said that the response of the people to the bandh was indicative of the anger that was simmering against the UPA government, whom he described as working contrary to national interests by implementing "anti-people, anti-farmers and anti-poor" policies. He said that current political scenario which was the outcome of internal tussle and mistrust among the key allies of Congress, the UPA government could crumble under its own weight anytime now.
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal's spokesman, Daljeet Singh Cheema claimed overwhelming support to the bandh call, as people "voluntarily" participated in the protest. He said that the response indicated the high levels of anger among general public against the policies of the UPA government at the centre. He said that all district headquarters, while workers organised protest dharnas, the leaders submitted memoranda seeking the intervention of the President for a roll back in hike in diesel prices, capping on number of LPG cylinders and allowing FDI in retail.
According to a party release, the Punjab unit of CPI(M) also claimed major response to protest programmes across the state. Party workers organised sit in protest at more than two dozen places, where they raised slogans seeking the dismissal of the UPA government if it failed to roll back its anti-people decisions.