Opposition NDA and Left parties today geared up to enforce a 'Bharat Bandh' on Monday in protest against the fuel price hike but the Government firmly ruled out any roll-back and slammed as unjustified the call for the nation-wide strike.
Authorities prepared to take all security measures to ensure there was no untoward incident during the strike, as the Opposition parties tried to make common cause in cornering the government as a build-up to a showdown during the coming monsoon session of Parliament.
Normal life is likely to be affected though Emergency services will not be disrupted. Essential services like milk, water, hospitals are exempt from participation in the bandh.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee ruled out a roll-back in the hike in prices of petroleum products and LPG even as his colleague and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said bandh is "not a solution" and that it was unjustfied.
"No question of roll-back," Mukherjee told reporters in Kolkata.
In New Delhi, top leaders of BJP-led NDA chalked out the strategy to enforce the bandh against fuel hike and the government's "failure" to control price rise.
"This may be the first time in history of India's politics that almost all political parties will participate in the Bharat Bandh," NDA Working Chairperson L K Advani said after a meeting of the leaders.
He gave credit to NDA Convenor and JD(U) President Sharad Yadav for bringing together even the non-NDA political parties for the one-day strike.
The Left parties have also given a separate call for a 'Bharat Bandh' on Monday. Most of the opposition parties minus RJD, BSP, LJP and RLD are participating in the bandh.
The participating parties are BJP, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, JD-U, CPI-M, CPI, Forward Block, RSP, AIADMK, PMK, MDMK TDP, BJD, JD(S), AGP, Akali Dal and INLD.
In an attempt to make the strike a success, BJP decided to send its senior leaders out to various state capitals to lead demonstrations and protest marches. Party president Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh will lead the protest in New Delhi.
Yadav, who is also the working convenor of the NDA, also claimed that the agitation would be "extraordinary and unprecedented" as the people were "completely fed-up" with price rise.
The Petroleum Ministry released advertisments in newspapers to send a message that the "Bharat Bandh" is not a solution. "Even after the price increase, the Government will bear a financial burden of approximately Rs 53,000 crore during 2010-11," it said.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjeev Dayal said all security measures have been taken to ensure no untoward incident takes place. "Anyone who takes law into their hands and attempts to paralyse the city shall be dealt with strictly," warned Dayal.
As the suburban trains are likely to be targeted by protestors supporting bandh, adequate number of Railway policemen would be deployed at stations for smooth functioning of service, police said.