Mumbai: As petrol prices on Monday shot up to Rs 88.12 in Mumbai and Rs 89.97 in Parbhani – the highest in India, the Congress-led opposition staged protests in various parts of Maharashtra.
The all-India anti-fuel price hike shutdown got underway in different parts of Maharashtra with all parties, barring the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena, joining in wholeheartedly.
The protesters staged a ‘rail-roko’ agitation in Andheri as part of the nationwide shutdown, while petrol pumps were forced shut in some parts of Mumbai.
Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam 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. The two Congress leaders were later detained by the police.
According to reports, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers in Mumbai forcefully shut down shops and establishments at Bharatmata Junction Naka, Parel.
In Pune, suspected workers of the MNS reportedly vandalised buses to protest the rising fuel prices.
Protests were also staged in several other parts of the state, including Manmad, Nashik, Kolhapur, Pandharapur (Solapur district) and Virar (Palghar district).
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.
As per preliminary reports, the shutdown has elicited mixed response in urban centres, but widespread support in the semi-urban and rural hinterland which have been badly hit by the spiraling fuel prices.
The shutdown has been supported by Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (S), RPI (G), Peasant and Workers Party, Left Parties, Swabhimani Shetkari Party, Peoples Republican Party.