The Bharat bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on September 20 is unlikely to make any major impact in the city as both the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have indicated that they will not actively participate in it.
Experts said both parties are wary of causing inconvenience to people, largely their vote bank, as the bandh coincides with the one-and-a-half day immersion of the Ganesh idol.
“We will not participate actively in the Shiv Sena style,” said Uddhav Thackeray during a press meet at his Bandra residence on Sunday.
Citing the upcoming festival as the key reason to be unable to participate in the strike, Uddhav asserted that the party supported the NDA and would lend moral support.“We will not participate in the bandh because of Ganeshotsav. It is an important festival for Maharashtra,” he said.
Uddhav said he had already spoken to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Sushma Swaraj and Gopinath Munde on this issue and would again meet them to clear his stance.
Meanwhile, Raj Thackeray-led MNS Thackeray also announced that they would not be a part of the shutdown call. “We are not going to participate,” said Raj, not giving any reason for his decision.
While BJP party state president Sudhir Mungantiwar has appealed to people to cooperate during the bandh, he clarified that it would not have an impact on the festivities. “In Mumbai, the Ganpati immersions will take place as they do every year. No BJP worker will create hurdles that will impact public transport, including BEST buses, autorickshaws and railways,” he said.
However, other leaders aren’t too pleased. According to a senior BPJ leader, the bandh would hardly impact the celebrations. “Even during the Presidential polls, the Shiv Sena had supported the Congress candidate. By not supporting the bandh against the government, they are indirectly supporting the Congress,” he said.
Political commentators feel the bandh would hardly be successful. “We have seen over the years that only these two parties have the manpower and the clout to enforce the bandh,” said Prakash Bal, a political analyst.