The bandh for which opposition parties had given a call to protest increase in petrol price passed off peacefully in Bathinda. The effect of the shutdown was partial, with much of the commercial activity coming to a halt during the day.
Most schools and colleges were closed. Supporters of leftist parties took out a protest march through the markets. Its leaders described the petrol-price increase as a "bolt from the blue for the common man".
"We had warned in the beginning that the deregulation of oil prices in the country would give companies free hand to raise the cost at will," said Communist Party of India leader Jagjit Singh Joga.
He asked for immediate a rollback of the increase, and asked the Punjab government to waive the tax on petrol, which was highest in the country.
"This rise, coupled with highest-ever devaluation of rupee, has exposed the bankruptcy of the economic policies of neo-liberalism," said Joga. "The statement by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee that the government had no control over oil companies now is a mockery of a justification."
The CPI leader called for regulating the oil companies again, and creating special money pool for meeting the intermittent change in fuel prices.
Mixed response in Moga
The countrywide-shutdown call against the rising prices of petrol received a mixed response in the four subdivisions of Moga district.
The business establishments at Moga, Baghapurana, Nihal Singh Wala, Kot-Ise-Khan, and Dharamkot were closed, while small shops in localities were open. Work at banks was affected, and buses were off the highways running to Jalandhar, Barnala, Ferozepur, Ludhiana, and Kotkapura.
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) staged protests at Joginder Singh Chowk, town's main roundabout, and raised slogans condemning the Central government. The also submitted a memorandum to additional deputy commissioner Chander Gaind.
Former agriculture minister Tota Singh spoke on the occasion. "The common man is shaken because of the rising prices of petrol and other essential commodities," he said. "The government at the Centre has let the poor suffer for the profit of a few oil companies. The economic policies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been a big failure."
Many social organisations organized similar protests.