Opposition parties including the Congress, Left, Samajwadi and the Trinamool Congress are observing ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ on Monday to protest against the Centre’s demonetisation move.
The first week of the winter session in Parliament saw opposition parties stand as a united front, but they appear divided on how they will protest against the move on Monday.
The Left Front is intent on holding a 12-hour bandh in West Bengal, but the Trinamool Congress-led state government has vowed to foil it. The state finance department has issued a circular stating that all employees would be required to attend office on Monday and Tuesday, and exceptions would be made only in case of bereavement, maternity leave, hospitalisation and other ‘genuine reasons’.
All major traders associations in the national capital said no political party asked them to participate in the shut down against demonetisation. Sanjeev Mehra, Khan Market Traders Association (KMTA) said he heard about the proposed ‘bandh’, but no one approached him.
Here is how the day panned out across India:
5:00pm: Bihar | Scores of CPI-ML (Liberation) workers, including its general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, were arrested and subsequently released for trespassing a prohibited zone while taking part in a rally in Patna.
The Congress and the RJD took out separate rallies, as part of the ‘Akrosh Diwas’. Both parties claimed that they were not against demonetisation, but with its implementation. The JD(U) had distanced itself from the bandh.
3:30pm: Telangana , Andhra Pradesh| It was business as usual in Hyderabad and rest of the Telangana districts, while there was a ‘mixed response’ in Andhra Pradesh for the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call.
Ruling parties from both states - Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Telugu Desam Party - decided not to support the call for bandh.
Though the Congress party too stayed away from the bandh call citing inconvenience to traders, it staged protests and burned PM Modi’s effigies at various places in both the states.
The YSR Congress, main Opposition in the Andhra Pradesh State Assembly, along with the Left parties, tried to disrupt bus services and shut down shops at various places. However, the response to the bandh call was poor.
In Hyderabad, banks, business establishments, educational institutions, transport services and private and government organisations functioned as usual.
However, a large number of autoriskshaws remained off the roads, as the auto-drivers’ union supported the Left parties’ bandh call. Osmania University postponed its UG and PG examinations as a precaution.
2.45 pm: Odisha | Congress workers and activists of Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) protested in front of the RBI office in Bhubaneswar.
“The demonetisation of high denomination currency notes has crippled the economy and heaped untold miseries on the poor people of the country. It is nothing but financial emergency,” state Congress president Prasad Harichandan said.
Sudhir Parichha, a farmer union leader, who protested against demonetisation outside Balangir district headquarters, said, the move has finished farm economy and farmers are forced to sell their goods way below minimum support price.
But protestors didn’t disrupt vehicular traffic or shut down business outlets, police said.
However, the BJD led state government, which backs Modi’s demonetisation move, ordered schools and colleges to remain closed citing law and order issues.
2.30 pm: Uttar Pradesh | Samajwadi Party workers torched an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi near Prayag Station in Allahabad, while Congress activists held a public meeting at Clock Tower in Chowk in protest against demonetisation.
Leaders of both the political parties made it clear that their act was not part of ‘Bharat Bandh’ but only against sudden demonetisation of currency notes which comprised of around 86% share of currency circulation (by value) in country.
2.20 pm: Bihar | Vehicular traffic and normal life remained largely unaffected across the state but movement of trains was affected.
At least 15 trains, including some express trains such as the Mumbai-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Bhagalpur superfast, Gandhidham Kamakhya, New Delhi Maldatown, Patna Ranchi Janshatabdi, Darbhanga New Delhi Sampark Kranti and Bangalore City Jainagar Suvidha Special were stranded at different locations under Danapur and Samastipur railway divisions.
2.10 pm: Tamil Nadu | Leader of Opposition MK Stalin was detained by Chennai police along with another member of the DMK after they started protesting against the centre’s implementation of demonetisation.
“A financial tsunami is sweeping the country following demonetisation. Government promised to solve the issue in two days. Now it has been extended to 50 days and all these seem to be mere announcements,” Stalin said while addressing party workers.
1.50 pm: Karnataka | The state units of the Congress and CPI(M) parties hold rallies in Bengaluru.
Meghalaya | Congress workers organise a rally in the state’s capital, holding up posters saying ‘monumental mismanagement of demonetisation’, ‘organised loot’, ‘legalised plunder’ - quotes from former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speech in the Rajya Sabha on November 24.
Kerala | Senior CPI(M) party MLAs and cabinet ministers including finance minister Thomas Issac participate in a protest march in Thiruvananthapuram.
The shutdown called by Kerala’s ruling LDF appeared to be total as only private vehicles plied and offices registered minimum attendance.
1.30 pm: Uttar Pradesh | Shopkeepers in Shahganj market in Agra decided to keep their shops open despite Monday being the market’s weekly closed day, opposing the call for a bandh. Life was visibly unaffected in the city.
12.50 pm: Mamata Banerjee joins the protest march in Kolkata from College Square to Esplanade.
“The Prime Minister suddenly came up with this decision acting like God. He never asked who may need Rs500, Rs1000 and made the decision to demonetise these notes. He didn’t care about the common people,” she addresses the crowd.
12.35 pm: Maharashtra | Protests by Congress workers begin the ‘Jan Aakrosh’ march from Kalina in Mumbai. Senior state party leaders including Ashok Chavan, Mumbai president Sanjay Nirupam and others were part of the protest.
12.15 pm: Meanwhile, in the Rajya Sabha, Opposition leader GN Azad says, “In a meeting of 18 opposition parties we decided to hold Jan Aakrosh Diwas and not Bharat Bandh. PM is responsible for Bharat Bandh.”
12.10 pm: West Bengal | Left Front chairman Biman Bose leads protest rallies in Kolkata. He tells ANI, “We are not demanding to keep the black money, like the Trinamool Congress. We’re demanding that the government relieves miseries of the common people.
Trinamool party workers have also taken to the streets in Kolkata to protest against demonetisation. Their social media handle uses the hashtag #PratibadDibas while other parties have labelled their campaigns #AakroshDiwas.
12.00 pm: The Congress party will hold an ‘Aakrosh Yatra’ from Ghanta Ghar in Kanpur. The party’s city unit president Har Prakash Agnihotri said it would be “the biggest rally” to highlight the suffering of people.
The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have decided not to be part of the Congress-led protest.
11.40 am: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi holds a protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex as both House had to be adjourned following opposition uproar over demonetisation. Opposition MPs including those belonging to DMK, CPI(M), Congress and RJD are also present.
Uttar Pradesh | Meanwhile, Congress workers hold a ‘Jan Aakrosh’ rally in Lucknow. Normal life is not visible affected in the UP capital as traders union refused to keep their shops closed; markets including Aminabad, Hazratganj remain open.
11.40 am: Jammu and Kashmir | Congress workers who were participating in a “Jan Aakrosh Diwas” rally in Jammu were detained by police, ANI reports.
11.30 am: Karnataka | The Congress government in Karnataka had said it would mark “Aakrosh Diwas” rather than call for a bandh in the state. While the Education Department of the state had allowed schools and colleges to be closed, most schools were open. Transport services too were not affected.
11.30 am: MK Stalin and DMK workers have been taken into preventive custody by police in Chennai.
11.15 am: Tripura | IANS reports that life is crippled in Tripura as the Left Front organised a 12-hour shutdown in the northeastern State. Government and private offices, banks, educational institutions, shops and business establishments remained closed due to the strike. All types of vehicles, except security forces, remained off the roads.
“There is no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the state. The shutdown remained peaceful,” police spokesperson Uttam Kumar Bhowmik told IANS.
10.50 am: “This opposition protest is against the 125 crore people of the country who have whole heartedly supported demonetisation,” says minister of state Jitendra Singh, outside the Parliament ahead of the day’s proceedings.
Follow updates from Parliament here.
10.35 am: Countering the opposition’s campaign, BJP workers in Nagpur observe ‘Jan Abhaar Diwas’ by offering flowers and sweets to people who are working on Monday.
10.35 am: Maharashtra | Opposition parties in Maharashtra have said that they will not participate in any bandh on Monday and will hold statewide protests against demonetisation.Taxis, autos and traders unions clarified that business will go on as usual. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has called for protest marches in districts where the party is dominant.
10.30 am: Orissa | CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) National Conference delegates hold a protest march in Puri.
10.20 am: Congress workers hold ‘Jan Akrosh Diwas’ rally in Patna.
10.10 am: Tamil Nadu | Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK) workers hold protests in Chennai. On November 25, the DMK had backed former PM Manmohan Singh for his criticism in Rajya Sabha of the way demonetisation was implemented.
“Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh put it beautifully when he called it a monumental management failure,” he said.
9.50 am: Opposition parties meet in Parliament ahead of the winter session. Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal tells ANI that all opposition parties are united except for the the Janata Dal (United) which, he says, is maintaining a “dual stand”.
9.30 am: Kerala | The bandh, called for by the ruling Left Democratic Front has crippled normal life in the state. Shops and business establishments downed their shutters and school and colleges remained closed throughout the state. In north Kerala, movements of private vehicles were also disrupted.
The ruling LDF had called for a dawn-to-dusk shutdown to denounce demonetisation, which has virtually crippled the thriving co-operative sector in the state.
9.15 am: Bihar | CPI(ML) workers protest by targeting the movement of trains in the state.Trains under the Gaya-Patna section was disrupted with the Ganga Damodar express and the Hatia Patna express being stranded at the Gaya station for nearly four hours. Bandh supporters also took to the streets and appealed to shopkeepers to down their shutters.
8.00 am: West Bengal | Normal life seems unaffected in Kolkata, where the Left parties have called for a 12-hour state-wide bandh. Government buses and other private vehicles were seen plying on the road, reports PTI.
“So far there has been no major incident, except a few small ones in the districts,” a senior police official said.
7.30 am: Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad denied that any all-India bandh call had been given by the opposition parties against demonetisation.
“The maximum amount of black money is with the BJP. Before criticizing other parties, they should introspect first. As far as the Bharat Bandh is concerned, nobody has spoken about it. We have not taken any call on or for a Bharat Bandh,” said Azad, ANI reports
7 am: Samajwadi party workers protest against in Allahabad against demonetisation.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday accused the Centre of making a mess of the Indian economy and causing hardship to farmers, labourers and traders by demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
(With agency inputs)