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September 20 Bharat Bandh and Protests

Main Article: 2012 September Diesel Price Hike and FDI reforms

Bharat Bandh

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Bharatiya Janata Party has called for a Bharat bandh on September 20, 2012 protesting the government's decision to hike diesel price and allow FDI in multi-brand retail.

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At a press conference on September 15, BJP senior leader LK Advani said, "NDA today decided to hold a nation-wide strike on 20th of this month. I am sure that the suffocation felt by the people for a long time is about to come to an end, it would be prudent and wise for the government itself to decide that they do not wait till 2014 for the people to give their opinion about the UPA government. Let them call for an early election. Let the people make a decision."

Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPM, BJP, JD-S, BJD, TDP and Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc have also decided to observe the bandh. The parties have issued a joint statement protesting the anti-people measures. The statement was signed by HD Deve Gowda (JD-S), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Prakash Karat (CPM), Naveen Patnaik (BJD), Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), N Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) and leaders of Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc

BJP senior leaders participating in Bandh

All the top BJP leaders are actively participating in enforcing the bandh protesting the diesel price hike and FDI in multi-brand retail. Sushma Swaraj is in Bhopal, Nitin Gadkari in Delhi, Rajnath Singh in Lucknow and Venkaiah Naidu is in Hyderabad.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari and JDU politician and convener of NDA coalition Sharad Yadav has led protests in New Delhi. Addressing the gathering, the leaders said that the scenario has turned into Congress against the rest.

Third Front likely in next elections

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has courted arrest at a police station. He is joined by CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, AB Bardhan, CPI's D Raja, TDP's N Chandrababu Naidu, JD(S) HD Deve Gowda, prompting the chances of a third front in the next elections.

General Strike in Delhi

Main Article: September 20 Bharat Bandh in Delhi

Shops and Markets will be closed in most parts of Delhi as over 500,000 traders are participating in the general strike. Public transportation is unlikely to be affected, but traffic disruptions are possible in several areas in Delhi and NCR cities.

Bharat Bandh in Gujarat

Main Article: September 20 Bharat Bandh in Gujarat

Many Education institutions in Gujarat have declared holiday on the account of general strike. Public transportation is likely to take a hit as School rickshaw and van owners association have confirmed that they will suspend services.

General Strike in Bihar

BJP party workers squat on railway tracks forcing delay of several trains in Patna. The party workers also enforced the bandh at railway stations much to the inconvenience of the passengers.

Protests in Bihar were led by BJP spokesperson and leader Ravishankar Prasad. He was seen cycling in a rally. He along with another BJP leader CP Thakur have been detained in Patna for protesting against the government. Several other opposition leaders have also been detained.

Samajwadi Party to stage Protests

Main Article: September 20 Bharat Bandh in Uttar Pradesh

The ruling Samajwadi party in Uttar Pradesh will enforce the general strike state-wide. Transportation will be hit as auto drivers have decided to join the bandh protesting the diesel price hike.

Shiv Sena, BJP, MNS not to enforce bandh due to Ganeshotsav in Maharashtra

Main Article: September 20 Bharat Bandh in Maharashtra

Most of the political parties in Maharashtra including Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS have opted out from enforcing bandh in Mumbai on the occasion of Ganeshotsav. More than 2000 traders and 15000 mathadi workers in APMC at Vashi will shut down their shops in protest against FDI in retail.

Shiromani Akali Dal will support Bandh

Punjab chief minister and chief of Shiromani Akali Dal, Parkash Singh Badal, will support the nationwide bandh on September 20. He said that the government's decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail would ruin small shopkeepers. Speaking at a function on September 16, Parkash Badal said, "Being a leading political party, the SAD cannot be a mute spectator of this anti-people decision of the Congress-led union government. We will extend wholehearted support to the Bharat bandh call."

Indian National Lok Dal to support the Bandh

The main opposition party Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has said that they too will support the general strike. The INDL is a major ally of Shiromani Akali Dal. INLD president and former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala said in a statement in Chandigarh that they will stop measures which will further burden the people and ruin their livelihood.

Biju Janata Dal to stage protests on September 21 in Odisha

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha will not join the nation wide bandh of the opposition parties. The State Panchayati Raj minister Kalpataru Das said that the bandh would affect the celebration of Nuakhai festival, which falls on September 20. The party would however stage protests statewide protesting diesel price hike the next day on Septemberr 21.

Bandh supported by ABVP and YAC

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Youth Against Corruption (YAC) have supported the bandh call given by opposition parties. The bandh is likely to affect counselling for admissions to post-graduate courses in Bangalore University. However, the examinations at Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) will go on as scheduled.

General Strike in West Bengal

Main Article: September 20 Bharat Bandh in West Bengal

The Left parties have called for the bandh in West Bengal, while Trinamool Congress is staying away from the bandh saying that the bandh won't achieve anything.

BJP calls public for active bandh participation in Jammu and Kashmir

The Bharatiya Janata Party in Jammu and Kashmir appealed to the public to support the Bharat Bandh. Various trade, transport, educational and social organizations will support the bandh. BJP state president Shamsher Singh Manhas and national executive member and chief spokesperson Dr. Jitendra Singh, Jammu district president Rajesh Gupta, at a press conference appealed to the people to participate in the bandh actively to fight against the step hike in diesel price and oppose FDI in retail.

DMK to support bandh in Tamil Nadu

Congress ally in UPA, Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK), has announced that they will support the nation-wide bandh on September 20. It is the only constituent in the UPA to support the bandh. In a brief statement by the DMK, its president M Karunanidhi asked its party workers to stage the protest in a peaceful way and to extend full cooperation. Karunanidhi has already demanded rollback of the hike in diesel price.

The ruling AIADMK party is opposing the bandh.

As the government has not declared a holiday, the government offices will be open. However, the availability of staff depends on transportation in the state. The state police have made elaborate arrangements to avoid any untoward situation.

The transportation in Chennai is not affected as only Trucks remained off the roads.

Commissioner of Police in Chennai S George reviewed the law and order situation in the state with top officials. The police are taking steps to ensure that the essential services will not be affected by the bandh.

Assam government issues notification to ensure normalcy

The Assam government is trying to ensure that all government offices would run normally on September 20, even though the opposition has called for a bandh. The Assam government on September 19, 2012 has issued a notification to ensure normal attendance. All district and sub-divisional authorities have been directed to ensure normal functioning.

Employees who abstain from work on that day will be treated as unauthorized absentees and appropriate action would be taken on them.

Security beefed up in Karnataka

Security has been increased all across Karnataka on the occasion of Bharat Bandh. Security personnel over 17,000 and nearly 30 platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police and City Armed Reserve will patrol Bangalore city, said ACP Sunil Kumar. Police would also videograph protests to identify trouble makers in sensitive areas.

The Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences has postponed the examinations that are to be held on September 20.Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation will operate their service normally.

Government and private Schools, Education Institutions and Restaurants are closed in Karnataka. The KSRTC and BMTC buses suspended their services, while autorickshaws are helping the commuters.

Many of the IT companies in Banglore and other parts of the state are closed.Shops, cinemas and schools were also closed.

Reactions to the Bandh

The Government has slammed the bandh staged by the NDA and the eight non-UPA parties saying that it generated economic losses. The CII estimated a loss of Rs. 12,500 crore.

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