The steepest-ever hike in petrol prices fuelled protests in several parts of the country today, as opposition NDA and the Left gave a call for a nation-wide bandh on May 31, dubbing the price increase a "savage attack" on the people.
In an action plan where the Left and the right will come together to demand a rollback of the "anti-people" decision, the BJP-led NDA gave a 'Bharat Bandh' call for May 31 while Left parties will observe the day as 'All India Protest Day' that will include strikes, picketing, road blocks and rallies against the hike.
A dawn-to dusk 'hartal' called separately by LDF and BJP in Kerala partially affected normal life across the state. Protests were also reported at some places in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.
The announcement for the Bharat Bandh, which was also called in protest against the rise in prices of essential commodities, was made both by senior BJP leader LK Advani and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav in their capacity as NDA's acting chairman and convener, respectively.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said that after consultation with all the allies Advani on behalf of the NDA has announced that the opposition alliance will organise a 'bandh' across the country in the wake of the "enormous" hike of petrol prices and the deep sense of anger among people.
The BJP appealed to the people to make the bandh a great success with Advani saying the hike is an "anti-people move" by the government.
Rejecting government's argument that the hike has been effected by petroleum companies as the pricing of petrol stands deregulated, Yadav said,
Demanding a roll back, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray said a Bharat bandh is "acceptable" to the party.