A near total bandh was today observed in Himachal Pradesh to protest hike of petrol price.
The Bharat bandh call given by NDA and Left parties evoked tremendous response in the hill state as commercial establishments and institutions remained shut across Himachal.
However, bus and rail services, and water and power supply remained unaffected and government offices, educational institutes, banks and semi-government offices functioned as usual.
Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal participated in the protest by walking from his official residence (Oakover) to state secretariat.
In Shimla the bandh was total and even vegetables, milk and other essential commodities were not available. Restaurants, dhabas and roadside pan shops were also closed.
Mall Road, Lower Bazar, Lakkar Bazar and other markets in the outskirts of Shimla remained closed till afternoon. Some shopkeepers pulled up the shutters in the evening.
CPI-M and CITU workers held a demonstration near victory tunnel and traffic remained interrupted for over an hour.
BJP spokesperson Ashok Kapatia said all shops and business establishments remained close during the bandh but keeping in view that it was peak tourist season, the duration of bandh was cut short and shopkeepers started opening the shops in the afternoon.
The bandh was complete in other towns like Nahan, Paonta, Solan, Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi, Bilaspur, Palampur, Kullu, Una and industrial belt of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh.