The panning out of the Jan Akrosh Divas, a 'nationwide bandh' against the demonetisation by the Narendra Modi government, announced by the Opposition, took place on Monday.
Both the Congress and the TMC had quelled rumours about a bandh on Saturday itself, clarifying that parties have only planned protests, and JD(U) in Bihar was consistent with its earlier stance of supporting the demonetisation of higher denomination notes.
According to an article by Akshaya Mishra of Firstpost, not too much should be read into the joint action of the Opposition parties, as it is neither reflective of any index of opposition unity, nor of a building political formulation against Narendra Modi and the news updates of day 20 go to show how the protest gradually became the bandh that wasn't.
Left Front no show in Bengal
The state-wide 12-hour strike called by the Left parties to protest demonetisation failed to evoke much response in Bengal. Government and private buses, trams and other private vehicles were seen plying on the road while most of the shops and markets were open. Train services of Eastern Railway in Sealdah and Howrah sections, besides Metro Rail services were also normal, Railway sources said, in a PTI report.
The strike called by the Left Front has been opposed by the ruling TMC in Bengal and the state government has ordered all its employees to attend offices on Monday and Tuesday. Exceptions would be made only in case of bereavement, maternity leave, hospitalisation and other 'genuine reasons', a circular issued by the state finance department said. Transport Minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Suvendu Adhikari said his department is plying 3,000 more buses to maintain normalcy.
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana give mixed response
The bandh evoked a partial response in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed in some areas while there was not much impact elsewhere.
Activists of Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), Congress and YSR Congress Party staged sit-in at RTC (Road Transport Corporation) depots. However, the employees union stayed away from the shutdown, and the bus services by and large remained unaffected. Main opposition YSR Congress and Congress clarified that they have not called for 'Bharat Bandh' but were only participating in protests against the people's sufferings due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Bihar's partial response
Workers of RJD, Congress and Left parties disrupted train services at many places, but offices and schools registered normal attendance. Road traffic was as usual as well.
The protest had its echo in both Houses of the Bihar legislature where legislators of Congress, RJD and CPI-ML raised slogans. BJP legislators countered them by raising slogans against them. JD(U), a member of the ruling alliance, kept away from the stir in view of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's consistent support to demonetisation of high value notes to fight black money in the economy.
The shutdown called by Kerala's ruling LDF on Monday appeared to be total as only private vehicles plied, offices registered minimal attendances, and normal life was crippled. However, even though it was a state-wide shutdown, the organisers have left tourism activities and also the banking establishments out of the ambit of the call. They have also sought the pilgrims to the famed Sabarimala temple to be left unaffected by the shutdown.
The Congress-led opposition, however, expressed strong reservations over the shutdown. Following the demonetisation move, normal life has already turned upside down in the past 20 days and to further strain it would not be an answer to the woes, Congress was quoted as saying.
Life as usual in Karnataka
The ruling Congress party in Karnataka held protests and rallies throughout the state. The protest affected the functioning of both the Houses of Karnataka Legislature as they did not sit today in line with the decision taken by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC). However, life in Bengaluru and elsewhere remained normal with commercial establishments, educational institutions, banks and private offices working as usual and public transport and Metro maintaining their regular services.
Official reports said barring protests by Congress, the situation in the entire state, including the districts of Mysuru, Gadag, Haveri, Belagavi, Kalaburgi, Chamrajanagar, Dharwad, Uttara Kannada and Kolar, was normal. 'Jan Aakrosh Diwas' did not strike chord as expected as the state has seen five days of bandhs, protests and strikes in the last four months, including one on Cauvery water issue with Tamil Nadu which was marked by large-scale violence.
With inputs form PTI