BJP leader Vasundhara Raje, along with hundreds of supporters, courted arrest in Jaipur on Monday as the Bharat Bandh called by opposition parties to protest fuel price rise disrupted normal life in most parts of Rajasthan.
Shops, schools and colleges, and many petrol pumps remained closed while public transport remained off the roads. Barring stray incidents of forceful closure of shops in some cities, the bandh was peaceful, Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, Navdeep Singh said.
BJP General Secretary Raje, along with hundreds of party supporters, staged demonstrations and burnt effigies of the Prime Minister and Rajasthan Chief Minister.
Raje was accompanied by state BJP President Arun Chaturvedi, local party MLAs Kalicharan Saraf and Mohan Lal Gupta, they said. "The price rise has adversely affected the 'aam admi' and the poor. The Congress government came to power on a popular slogan of '(Congress ka) haath aam admi ke sath (The Congress' hand is with the common man)', then why has the common man been slapped with inflation," she told reporters.
Later, Raje was released near the BJP office, police said. 250 other protesters were reelased at different locations in the city, the police said.
However, heavy rains all day long played a spoilsport for BJP workers who tried to enforce the bandh. "About 18,000 auto-rickshaws were off the roads as most of the taxi unions supported the shutdown," Kuldeep Singh, Secretary of Jaipur Zila New Pink city Auto-rickshaw drivers' Union said.
Commuters faced problem as public transport was hit. "Operation of state roadway buses has been affected as bandh supporters have closed the gate of interstate bus stand while local services have also been hit," a Rajasthan State Roadways and Transport Corporation official said.
Office goers were the worst affected. Long queues of two and four wheelers were seen at a few petrol outlets which opened. In Jaipur, roads appeared deserted and in the walled city a heavy police contingent maintained a tight vigil.
The CPI-(M) claimed that the bandh evoked unprecedented response throughout the country and the state. In Udaipur, government offices remained open although attendance was thin. Though the Bandh remained by and large peaceful, BJP activists smashed glass doors at BSNL and LIC offices in HiranMagri area.