Bandh cripples life in NDA, Left-ruled states

Bandh cripples life in NDA, Left-ruled states

As buses stopped plying, and schools, colleges and offices remained closed, Bangalore streets wore a deserted look on Monday.

Senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were arrested in Lucknow while trying to lead a procession towards the main Hazratganj crossing. BJP workers claimed that a number of party activists and leaders were injured when police baton-charged the protestors.

In NDA-ruled Bihar, Punjab and Karnataka, life was thrown out of gear with agitators stopping trains and buses.

Schools, colleges and business establishments remained closed as groups of protestors hit streets trying to enforce the 12-hour bandh.

In West Bengal and Kerala, air, rail and road services were disrupted. Only Air India flights operated out of NSC Bose International Airport in Kolkata as streets wore a deserted look in the eastern metropolis where CITU gave the strike call.

In Maharashtra, police cracked down on trouble makers and detained nearly 10,000 people, official sources said.

Considering low passenger load in view of the bandh, domestic airlines have cancelled 45 departures and 39 arrivals at the domestic airport in Mumbai.

While taxis and auto-rickshaws are off the road in the country's financial capital, municipal buses and local trains were plying with very few passengers during the usually crowded morning hours.

At suburban Mulund railway station, BJP workers led by former MP Kirit Somaiya were detained while staging "rail roko". In suburban Borivali, Mumbai BJP president and MLA Gopal Shetty was detained with supporters during a similar protest.

Incidents of stone-pelting on buses and trains were reported from Pune and some parts of Mumbai including Vikhroli, Borivali and Kandivali. However, no one was injured.

In Delhi, the bandh evoked a lukewarm response though BJP workers blocked road, rail and Metro services in some areas.

Buses, autos and private vehicles were on the streets from the morning while offices had more than average attendance.

Jaitely claimed in Lucknow, "The bandh is an unprecedented success. We are getting messages in this regard from all across the country. This protest has been widely supported by the average common man because he is really the target of UPA government's policies".

The BJP leader said protest against the policies of the Centre will be reflected in Parliament.

In Bihar, train and road services came to a virtual halt and shops and business establishment downed their shutters.

Several long distance and passenger trains, including New Delhi-Muzaffarpur Sampark Kranti Express were detained at different stations in Bihar following the agitation, East Central Railway (ECR) Chief Public Relations Officer, Dilip Kumar said.

Bandh supporters cut hose pipes of some trains and squatted and demonstrated on the railway tracks to enforce the bandh.

The Rajgir-Danapur passenger train was detained at Karahdhi, Hatia-Patna express at Jehanabad, Gaya-Patna passenger train at Islampur besides over 10 mail express trains were detained at Sasaram, Vikarmganj, Dholi, Narahan, Motihari, Sitamarhi and Jainagar railway stations in Bihar by the agitators, Kumar said.

Reports reaching the state headquarters from Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Biharsharif, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Motihari, Bettia, Siwan, Gopalganj, Chapra, Darbhanga, Saharsa, Khagaria and Katihar said the bandh evoked good response with markets remaining closed.

Stray incidents of stone pelting were reported in Karnataka where BJP activists stopped the Mysore-Bangalore passenger train briefly and shouted slogans against the UPA government at the Centre.

In Kerala, shops remained closed and buses, taxis and autorickshaws kept off the roads throughout the state, seriously affecting mobility of people. No violence was reported from anywhere.

In Andhra Pradesh, bus services were badly hit as workers of various opposition parties staged demonstrations in front of some bus depots in Khammam, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy and Kadapa districts.

In Rajahmundhry, services of over 700 buses in nine depots have been cancelled as protestors stopped buses and organised agitations, a APSRTC official said.

Bandh supporters in Orissa picketed various Central government and PSU offices to prevent employees from reporting for duty and road and rail traffic disrupted in the state.

Vehicular movement on roads was virtually paralysed throughout the state as buses, trucks and other vehicles stopped plying, leaving a large number of passengers stranded, police sources said.

The bandh evoked near total reponse in Punjab and is partial in Haryana. Reports from Ludhiana, Phagwara and Jalandhar said that shops, commercial establishments and schools were closed in the wake of bandh call.

In Congress-ruled Haryana where opposition parties including Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and CPI and CPI (M) are supporting the bandh, the strike evoked a mixed response.

In Gujarat, stone-pelting incidents were reported in Surat while the bandh remained largely peaceful in the BJP-ruled state.

The bandh evoked a lukewarm response in Tamil Nadu where public transport, educational institutions, the banking sector and other business establishments functioned normally.

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