The Congress has called for a nationwide protest on Monday against the rise in fuel prices and drop in rupee’s value against the United States dollar. The shutdown will be observed between 9 am and 3 pm in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Haryana, reported News18.
The Congress has claimed the support of 21 parties. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation and the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) announced their decision to join the protest on Friday. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam also joined the strike.
Fuel prices continued to rise on Monday, with the price of petrol touching Rs 88.12 a litre – an increase of Rs 0.23 a litre – in Mumbai, reported ANI. The price of diesel rose to Rs 77.32, also an increase of Rs 0.23. In Delhi, a litre of petrol was priced at Rs 80.73, increasing by Rs 0.23 a litre while a litre of diesel is available for Rs 72.83, an increase of Rs 0.22.
In Odisha, members of Opposition parties staged protests in parts of Bhubaneshwar, reported ANI. The ruling Biju Janata Dal said it would neither support the strike nor oppose it. However, all schools in the state will remain closed to ensure the safety of students, said the government.
In Karnataka, bus services of the North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation were not operational on Monday, according to ANI. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation staff and workers’ federation have extended their support to the bandh.
The state government also announced a holiday for schools and colleges in Bengaluru on Monday as a precautionary measure.
“The objective to observe bandh was not to trouble people, but to fight for their cause as they are living in the most trying times,” said Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao, according to NDTV. Rao said the bandh will also mirror people’s anger and hardship against Narendra Modi government’s policies.
State president of Janata Dal (Secular) AH Vishwanath accused the Modi government of being “crony capitalist”, working for the corporates instead of the poor.
In Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam, CPI(M) members protested against the rising fuel prices.
Congress leader Ajay Maken on Sunday said the bandh will be violence-free, according to Hindustan Times. “The value of rupee is below 72 now,” he said. “Earlier when rupee value used to cross 60, then Prime Minister Modi used to say that rupee is in ICU. What will he say now?”
The party said bringing fuel under Goods and Services Tax will lead to a drop of Rs 15-18 in fuel prices. Almost half of the retail selling price of petrol and diesel is made up of central and state taxes.