New Delhi: At least 21 opposition parties, led by the Congress, are participating in the ‘Bharat Bandh’ or shutdown today to protest the rise in fuel prices in the country and depreciation of the rupee. Congress president Rahul Gandhi joined protests in Delhi this morning. Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had refused to join the bandh, also sent its leader Sanjay Singh. Top opposition leaders like Sharad Pawar, MK Stalin and Left leaders have supported the bandh, while Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has decided to stay away. The effect of the bandh is expected to be strong in states like Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal.
Here are the top 10 updates on Bharat Bandh:
- Rahul Gandhi went to Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat in Delhi to join the protest called by his party. This is his first public appearance since he returned from Kailash Mansarovar yatra.
- Schools and colleges are closed in Bengaluru today after Karnataka’s ruling Janata Dal Secular, which is in alliance with the Congress, said it would support the day-long protest. Schools in Odisha too are closed, though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s party has refused to back the shutdown.
- Uber and Ola drivers groups, Auto Drivers’ Association and other organisations such as Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, KSRTC, BMTC too will join the Bharat Bandh protest in Karnataka.
- Protesters in Karnataka’s Hubballi, believed to be workers of the Congress, burnt tyres.
- The Congress said it had urged party workers not to indulge in any violent protest. “I appeal to all Congress workers to make the bandh violence-free. We are Mahatma Gandhi’s party and we should not associate ourselves with any violence,” Delhi leader Ajay Maken said.
- The ruling Trinamool in West Bengal has expressed support on the issues on which the shut down has been called, but said it was against any kind of strike in the state according to the stated policy of party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
- In Tamil Nadu, DMK leader MK Stalin said the centre is not doing anything to halt the rupee’s slide against the dollar or to control the fuel prices.
- “We demand that petrol and diesel be brought under the ambit of the GST. High prices of petrol and diesel found no mention in the BJP’s national executive meeting because they are not bothered about the pain of public,” said Congress’s Randeep Surjewala.
- Petrol and diesel prices set new records Sunday. Petrol price was raised by 12 paise a litre and diesel by Rs. 10 paise per litre on Sunday.On Sunday, hours before the opposition-backed shutdown, the BJP government in Rajasthan announced tax cuts on petrol and diesel, which led to prices falling by Rs 2 per litre.
- There is heavy security in Maharashtra, another BJP-ruled state, where the opposition Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar are participating in the protest.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)
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