New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Monday said that the Bharat Bandh was successful across the country. Briefing the media about the Congress party-led Bharat Bandh, he said, “Congress party has never held Bharat Bandh before, we don’t even believe in Bharat Bandh, but since the time Modi government has come there has been a situation that led to this.” (Catch live updates on Bharat Bandh here)
A nationwide shutdown call was given by the Congress and Left parties against the spiralling petrol and diesel prices which reached record levels on Monday.
Gehlot further said that people willingly participated in Bharat Bandh against the government and taught them a lesson. “At least now, the government should reduce prices and mend its way. But they are not worried at all. So, we all need to save democracy. It is in danger,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad attacked the Congress and said the party is trying to derail democracy. “Emergency services hit by bandh call. We stand by the people of the nation”, he had said. He reiterated the Centre’s stand that the issue of a spike in price is not in under government’s control, attributing the issue to global factors.
Condemning the violence during Bharat Bandh called by the Congress-led Opposition, Prasad said, “Everyone has a right to protest but what is happening today? Petrol pumps and buses being set ablaze, putting to risk lives. A child died after an ambulance was stuck in the protests in Bihar’s Jehanabad. Who is responsible?”
At least 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) backed the shutdown and the Left has also declared a nationwide hartal.
However, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a non-NDA party, said although it is against the fuel price hike, it will not support the Bandh. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took a similar stand in Delhi. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) ruling in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana respectively, also did not support the call.
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal said that it supports the issues raised by the Opposition parties but it is against strikes since these lead to loss of working hours. However, the party will hold protest rallies across the state against rising fuel prices.