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Mixed response to Bharat Bandh in UP

The Congress’s ‘Bharat Bandh’ against rising fuel prices evoked a mixed response across Uttar Pradesh with reports of the daylong agitation being partially successful in Allahabad, Varanasi and Rae Bareli.

lucknow Updated: Sep 11, 2018 13:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Bharat Bandh,Uttar Pradesh,Fuel prices
Congress UP chief Raj Babbar persuading shopkeepers to keep their shops closed for the bandh during the protest in Lucknow on Monday.(HT Photo)

The Congress’s ‘Bharat Bandh’ against rising fuel prices evoked a mixed response across Uttar Pradesh with reports of the daylong agitation being partially successful in Allahabad, Varanasi and Rae Bareli.

Although no incident of any major violence was reported from anywhere in the state, two Youth Congress activists made an abortive bid to immolate themselves in Allahabad.

Elsewhere, most commercial establishments, educational institutions, transport systems functioned as usual.

The state police made elaborate security arrangements at Congress offices, markets, and prominent dharna-demonstration spots in different districts.

The Congress, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (primarily in west UP) took to the streets, holding demonstrations and staging sit-ins.

Samajwadi Party workers protesting in Lucknow. (HT Photo)

The Samajwadi Party added the law and order issue to the agitation.

In Allahabad and Kanpur, the Congress workers hired donkeys, mules, horses and paraded them with slogans against price rise.

All petrol pumps, cooking gas agencies and shops in many areas like Civil Lines, Katra, Chowk and Naini in Allahabad remained closed throughout the day

In Varanasi, several women, who were beneficiaries of the Ujjawala LPG scheme, demonstrated with gas cylinders. They alleged they were not getting refills. Several shops in Bula Nala, Maidagini, Godaulia, Dalmandi and Nai Sadak remained closed.

Congress national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, who led the bandh in Varanasi, said the people across the country were upset with growing inflation and rising prices of diesel and petrol. Inflation affected everyone. She said the people of Varanasi were upset with their MP (Prime Minister Narendra Modi).

In Kanpur, barring the wholesale markets, none of the retail market in the city supported the bandh. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the city.

The police arrested former Congress MP Rajaram Pal at Kalyanpur when he led Congress activists to stop the Farrukhabad passenger train at Kalyanpur railway station.

Similarly, police chased away Congress activists trying to block the railway track at Gumti Number Five.

In Meerut, the police arrested several Congress workers when they tried to take out a march through markets after staging a protest outside the divisional commissioner’s office.

Police foiled an attempt by a group of Congressmen to burn the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Congress Party supporters stop a train during 'Bharat Bandh' protest in Moradabad. (PTI Photo)

Congress state president Raj Babbar, who led the campaign in the UP said, “Fuel price rise has hit the common man and the government is insensitive to their problems. The Congress will continue to struggle for the people.”

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said, “While the opposition was protesting, the government hiked the fuel prices again this morning. This demonstrates the government’s arrogance and callousness towards the common man. Anyway, people are waiting impatiently to teach this government a lesson,” he said after garlanding the statue of Govind Ballabh Pant at Vidhan Bhavan.

Market closed for five hours in Rae Bareli

Rae Bareli: Bharat Bandh evoked a good response in Rae Bareli, the Lok Sabha constituency of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, with the market remaining closed for five hours from 10am to 3pm.

Congress activists took out a procession from the party’s district headquarters at Tilak Bhawan. They later submitted a memorandum to city magistrate.

Samajwadi Party activists led by their district president Ram Bahadur Yadav took out a procession from the super market to Shahid Smarak for a 18-point memorandum addressed to the governor.

The main demands were reduction of prices of diesel, petrol and cooking gas, addressing the poor law and order situation and ensuring safety of women. CPI (M-L) activists also took out a procession.

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 13:04 IST