Cong flexes muscles, BJP calls it flop show

Violence in many states during Bharat Bandh

NEW DELHI: Sporadic incidents of violence were reported on Monday during a Congress-led opposition’s Bharat Bandh against spiralling fuel prices that disrupted normal life mainly in Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Assam and Odisha.
Offices and educational institutes remained closed and vehicles were off the roads in the states hit by the bandh that drew a mixed response.
The bandh was called by 21 opposition parties that included the Congress, its allies and the Left.
As the Congress top brass including party chief Rahul Gandhi targeted the Narendra Modi government at a protest rally at Ramlila Maidan here, the BJP claimed that the bandh was called to divert attention from the hearing in the Delhi High Court on a matter related to the National Herald case involving its “corrupt” leaders.
Welcoming the Delhi High Court’s order to dismiss pleas of the Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi challenging the reopening of their tax assessments for 2011-12, the BJP’s national spokesperson, Sambit Patra, said it was a “victory of common man” and “exposes the real face of the Gandhi family”.
The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the pleas of Sonia and Rahul challenging reopening of their tax assessments for 2011-12.
Reacting to the BJP’s remark, the Congress dared Modi to fight a “political battle” with Rahul instead of seeking “petty revenge”.
Congress communications’ in-charge Randeep Surjewala claimed that the Modi government was “unnerved, perturbed and scared” by the “successful Bharat Bandh through which the people of India have sought accountability”.
Scores of congress activists were taken into police custody in several states for forcibly trying to enforce the bandh, according to reports from state capitals.
While the Congress and other opposition parties claimed the bandh was a success, the BJP claimed it was a flop.
Bihar witnessed widespread arson, vandalism and disruption of rail and road traffic. Burning tyres were placed on railway tracks in the Old Patna city area disrupting movement of trains. The BJP held bandh supporters responsible for the death of a two-year-old girl in Jehanabad while being taken to a hospital but the local administration denied the allegation that the ambulance carrying her was stopped by protesters.
In states like Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh life was hit by the shutdown but Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Mizoram remained largely unaffected.
The left observed a 12-hour strike in Kerala and West Bengal instead of the 9 am to 3 pm shutdown.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is among the strongest critics of BJP, said she “in principle” supported the issue on which the Bharat Bandh was called but not the bandh. Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam alleged Monday that police were deployed outside his house in suburban Andheri so as to stop him from taking part in the protest.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray, said the current BJP dispensation at the Centre is ‘worse’ than the erstwhile UPA government. (PTI)