Bharat Bandh Today by BJP, Left against fuel price hike

The Left announced a Bharat Bandh against the price rise on July 5 and the BJP said “ me too”, giving an identical call for a similar agitation on the same date.

The BJP- aligned socialists, in the meantime, piped up to call it a show of Opposition unity. Political parties were clearly struggling this week to milk the issue the best they could. The reality is that unlike the 1998 assembly election in Delhi when the high prices of onions forced the BJP out of power, the issue has somehow lost political potency over the years.

The ruling Congress has won a consecutive Lok Sabha poll and topped it with a series of provincial wins despite a whopping 12 to 20 per cent rise in all food prices in the past one year. As a complacent government went ahead with deregulating fuel prices earlier last week, the Opposition struggled over how best to harvest the issue politically.

The Left parties went ahead with their own plans and announced a strike on July 5. The socialists, led by Janata Dal ( United) president Sharad Yadav, wanted a joint Opposition agitation. So, Yadav called up BJP president Nitin Gadkari. “ Would you be willing to be part of the July 5 Bharat bandh?” Yadav reportedly asked Gadkari.

“ The BJP is organising a prashikshan shivir ( training programme) for young MPs on July 5 so we can’t be part of it,” Gadkari reportedly told alliance partner Yadav.

But the BJP quickly realised it was churlish to go alone when other political parties were joining hands to fight the Centre on price rise. So, a day after the BJP had announced a series of antiprice rallies, Gadkari decided the saffron family should join other political parties. On June 29, he too announced a Bharat Bandh on July albeit without any official understanding with the Left.

Things to put on Focus Today:
  • Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar and Chandni Chowk to remain shut. Nearly all other major markets partially closed.
  • Central Delhi will be the focal point, as protesters will take out rallies from 9 am to 1 pm.
  • Stay clear of the Walled City as a major public meeting is to be held here at 12.30 pm.
  • Tagore International, Springdales ( Dhaula Kuan) and all Bal Bharti schools will be closed.
  • DTC buses and Delhi Metro trains will ply, while some private buses & autos will stay off roads.
  • The traffic police have warned of traffic jams from morning to afternoon, especially in central Delhi.
  • “ We’ll be out in full force,” traffic joint commissioner Satyendra Garg said prices.


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