Lucknow: The Congress-led Bharat Bandh on Monday against hike in petroleum prices and Rafale scam has evoked mixed response in Uttar Pradesh with most of the markets being shut but schools and offices functioning normally.
The vehicular traffic was also reportedly normal. The Congress and other bandh supporters burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and raised slogans against the BJP government. They brought out marches and processions to lodge their protest in the entire country.
UP Congress president Raj Babbar led a march from Hazratganj area in Lucknow after taking the blessings of Dakshin Mukhi Hanuman temple and went to the nearby markets urging the traders to down their shutters. March by the Congress supported by the Left Parties and others, brought the vehicular traffic in the state capital to a stand still.
Later, the Congress workers and leaders sat on a 'dharna' . The demonstrators also disrupted the functioning of the petrol pumps in the state capital.
However, reports from other parts of the state said that trains and road traffic were disrupted by the protesters at different places in Jhansi, Rae Bareli, Amethi, Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad and Bareilly. UP DGP O P Singh, who himself is touring the state capital to monitor the situation, claimed that the situation was normal and there is no impact of the 'bandh'. He said that there is no untoward incident reported anywhere from the state so far. UP police has already issued high alert in the entire state over the protest. Speaking to reporters during his march for 'bandh', Mr Raj Babbar said that they are holding the protest in a Gandhian way and will not indulge in violence.
"We are getting the peoples support in a big way and the shops are closed without any pressure," he claimed. He also raised the issue of Rafale fighter aircraft scam.
Meanwhile, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath termed the Bharat Bandh ''frustration'' of the opposition leaders. " Such Bandh only derails the development of the country and these opposition parties are doing nothing but trying to put a spanner on the development of the country," he alleged. Mr Adityanath appealed to the opposition to support the government in its effort to develop the country. However, contradicting the CM's version, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav blamed the Centre for taking a rigid stand over the issues. "The BJP has turned into an egoist party and ignoring the problems of the people is not accepted. When the people are fighting for the rising prices of petrol, the government was increasing the price daily which shows its egoistic attitude," he alleged. UNI