It was strategy not seen before as the Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) went about enforcing the bandh.
On Monday, with shops staying shut and most people preferring to stay indoors, there weren’t too many political activists forcing shop-owners to down shutters.
Sources in the parties said they wanted to avoid legal trouble. The state government had warned that they would be booked for violating a Supreme Court order that banned shutdowns and would be made to pay if property was damaged.
Both the Sena and the BJP had been forced by the high court to pay Rs 20 lakh each as compensation for the loss caused by their 2003 bandh.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a BJP leader said: “We did our homework. We asked our workers to refrain from carrying flags and raising party slogans, as a precaution against legal action.” In many areas, party workers did a round of shops on Saturday, asking owners not to open for business. Parties also asked activists not to resort to strong-arm tactics.
The Sena was cautious as its agitation against My Name is Khan fizzled out, causing loss of face to the party.
The MNS accepted that it was not aggressive in enforcing the bandh. “We were not in the forefront, but our cadres worked quietly to ensure success,” said Shirish Parkar, party spokesman.
Nilu Damle, political analyst, said the court’s influence was visible. “Parties don’t want to mess with the courts,” he said. He said that courts should penalise the parties behind Monday’s bandh too.
Senior Sena leader Subhash Desai said: “This time, the people responded to the bandh call because they identified with the issue. Hence, there was no need for a show of strength.”