| The Congress-led ‘Bharat Bandh’ to protest price rise, hike in petroleum prices and Rafale scam found support from the traders who shut down their establishments, though for a few hours, on Monday.
The bandh call evoked good response in Lucknow and Kanpur where half of the shops were closed till afternoon while in other parts of the state, the response was mixed.
However, schools, colleges and other educational institutions and essential services remained unaffected. Government and private offices too worked as usual and traffic remained unaffected.
Congress workers and leaders took out a march and appealed to traders and petrol pump owners to join the bandh to register their ire against the rising prices of fuel and essential commodities. Protesters from the Congress and other parties burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and raised slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party government.
“The people are feeling the pinch of rising fuel prices and are angry and hence they supported our bandh call on their own to register their protest against the Central government,” said UP Congress president Raj Babbar. The Congress state chief led a march in Hazratganj area of Lucknow.
Babbar said that they were holding the protest in a Gandhian way and would not indulge in violence. “We are getting people’s support in a big way and the shop owners have closed their establishments without any pressure,” he claimed.
The UP Congress chief also raised the issue of Rafale fighter aircraft deal.
Later, Babbar and his supporters went to nearby markets and urged traders to down their shutters. Babbar also went to Naka Hindola, Aminabad, Chowk, Gomti Nagar and other localities to appeal to traders and petrol pump owners and people at large to join the protest against the Centre.
Babbar was accompanied by MLA Aradhna Mishra, UP Congress general secretary Vinod Mishra.
Congress leader in Vidhan Parishad, Deepak Singh, led the protest in other parts of the district.
The Congress march was also supported by Left parties and others. The protest affected vehicular traffic in the state capital for over an hour.
Congress workers and leaders also sat on a ‘dharna’ outside some petrol pumps to register their ire. They also staged demonstration there, disrupting working of petrol pumps in Lucknow. Reports from other parts of the state, including Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Agra, Meerut, Mathura, Varanasi, said the bandh call received mixed response. Rail and road traffics were disrupted by protesters in Jhansi, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad and Bareilly.
Meanwhile, DGP OP Singh said that the situation was normal and there was hardly any impact of the bandh.
He said that no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state.