‘Instead of observing Maharashtra bandh…’: BJP leader lashes out at state govt
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Chandrakant Patil on Monday said the ruling parties in the state—the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress—are “trying to reap political mileage” by giving the call for the Maharashtra bandh as the shutdown was observed to protest the killing of four farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district. “We condemn it as it has posed a hardship to the general public. Instead of observing a bandh, the state government should first give relief to the farmers affected due to the floods in Marathwada and Vidarbha recently,” Patil, who is the president of the BJP’s Maharashtra unit, said. “The state government has done nothing except tall assurances for them,” he alleged.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) also opposed the Maharashtra bandh, which the ruling parties have said has been 100 per cent successful, and one of its leaders Ameya Khopkar said the government should have contributed one day salary to these farmers or worked overtime instead of troubling citizens. Khopkar said that people are already hurt by lockdowns and this is like rubbing salts on their wounds.
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Most of the shops and commercial establishments remained closed and bus services were affected in Mumbai and neighbouring areas during the Maharashtra bandh called by the three parties of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the state. Buses of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST)—the transport undertaking of the city’s civic body—and many of the traditional black and yellow cabs remained off roads. BEST officials said that eight of its buses were vandalised in different areas of Mumbai between midnight and 8am on Monday and sought police protection.
Huge crowds were seen in railway stations as local trains were running according to schedule but were packed as many commuters took the suburban train services. "Our services are running as per schedule," Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer of the Central Railway, told PTI. "Local trains are operating on their regular schedule, so you can plan your day accordingly. Essential services are functional as usual,” the Mumbai Police also tweeted.
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) officials said their buses from Mumbai to other places were plying according to schedule and no untoward incident was reported anywhere. "Regional offices across the state have been informed to operate bus services in consultation with the district administration concerned and police after taking stock of the local situation," an MSRTC official said.
There was heavy police deployment across the state capital in the wake of the bandh. The three ruling allies have urged people to support the bandh, which began at midnight, to express their solidarity with farmers.