Mumbai: Congress, the opposition party in Maharashtra on Monday staged a ‘rail-roko’ agitation as part of the party-sponsored nationwide shutdown to protest rising fuel prices. Notably, Maharashtra’s Parbhani was the hardest hit as petrol prices on Monday shot up to Rs 89.97, the highest in India. Congress leaders led thousands of activists to stage a noisy protest outside the Andheri station bus depot, and later they got down on the railway tracks, shouting anti-government slogans.

Several leaders including former ministers Naseem Khan, Manikrao Thakre, Suresh Shetty, joined the agitation as police maintained strict security at Andheri. However, suburban trains, BEST buses, schools and colleges functioned normally, though shops and commercial establishments downed shutters in many localities, including pockets where the opposition is influential. Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists also led aggressive protests in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Pune, Nashik and others areas of the state.

Parbhani District Petrol Dealers Association (PDPDA) President Sanjay Deshmukh said that while petrol was nearly touching the psychological barrier of Rs 90 per litre, (Rs 89.97), diesel prices stood at Rs 77.92 today. Elsewhere in Maharashtra, petrol was at Rs 88 and diesel at Rs 76, said All India Petrol Dealers Association (AIPDA) spokesperson Ali Daruwala, besides various local tax additions.

Mumbai Local Status

Amidst Bharat Bandh, local trains on all three lines- Western, Central and Harbour in Mumbai are running according to their normal timings and routes as no disruption has been reported for far. Further, no changes in timings and routes of B.E.S.T. buses has been witnessed. It must be noted that few private schools in Mumbai have declared holiday as a precautionary measure, although, colleges will remain open.

Bharat Bandh

The all-India anti-fuel hike shutdown was backed by 20 Opposition parties including Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), DMK, Trinamool Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) also supported the same, the Left has also declared a nationwide hartal. However, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena did not join in the protest.

The preliminary reports suggest that the shutdown has seen a widespread support in the semi-urban and rural hinterland as they have been badly hit by the spiraling fuel prices.

(With agency inputs)