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Bandh showcases political faultlines

delhi Updated: Dec 02, 2011 00:01 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
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The nationwide call for a day's strike by traders on Thursday, to protest the decision to allow FDI in retail, evoked a mixed response. While states like Punjab and Haryana saw a lukewarm response, the effect in Delhi was partial.

Both retailers and wholesalers participated in the bandh in Delhi. But shops that were shut throughout the day opened in the evening. Kirana and neighbourhood shops remained open in most places.

Shutters were down in major wholesale markets like Karol Bagh, Sadar bazaar, Daryaganj, Chawri Bazaar, Khari Baoli and Chandni Chowk.

Crowded retail markets like Palika Bazaar, Connaught Place, Tibetan Market, Khan Market, Lajpat Nagar Central Market and Greater Kailash Market were also shut during the day.

But Sarojni Nagar and INA Market stayed open.

In the morning, a large number of traders staged a protest at Jantar Mantar.

"All 1,400 markets in Delhi were closed, with an estimated loss of R500 crore," said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general of the Confederation of All India Traders association. "Across the country, five crore traders associated with 10,000 associations downed their shutters."

The bandh was almost complete in most BJP-ruled states. In Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, BJP activists were seen patrolling the streets to force traders to down shutters. Markets and educational institutions remained closed and public transport stayed off the roads.

Karnataka observed a partial bandh, with most commercial areas in Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli-Dharwad remaining open. But almost 75% shops in upscale and commercial areas of Bangalore were shut.

Shutters were down in Jammu as well.

The strike was largely successful in Odisha with all traders, except chemists, joining it in cities like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Rourkela.

The bandh was total in Tamil Nadu, where chief minister J Jayalalithaa has opposed FDI in retail. In Chennai, many traders held a day-long fast.

In West Bengal, where UPA ally Trinamool Congress also wants a rollback , the bandh was almost total. Over 20 lakh retailers observed bandh in Kolkata.

UP observed a partial bandh.

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