Normal life was hit in some parts of the country on Monday as non-BJP parties took to the streets and Kerala and Tripura observed a bandh to protest against the Centre’s demonetisation move.
Expressing concern over the plight of common man, MPs of various opposition parties led by Rahul Gandhi on Monday staged a protest against the government on the demonetization issue in front of Parliament as part of the ‘Jan Aakrosh Divas’ observed across the country.
However, no MP from Trinamool Congress, JD(U), SP and BSP, BJD were seen at the joint Opposition dharna outside Parliament though they raised their voices against the move in the House.
Besides the Congress vice-president, many senior party leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Veerappa Moily along with JP Yadav of RJD, Supriya Sule of NCP, Kanimozhi of DMK and Mohd Salim of CPI(M) participated in the protest near Gandhi statute.
Raising slogans, the MPs demanded steps to ease the problems being faced by the people due to the demonetisation drive.
Asked about parties holding protests separately, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, “There is no division among the opposition. All parties may march separately but they are striking together. Parliament is not functioning because PM is no coming to the House.”
While the Left constituents called a 12-hour bandh, other parties including Congress and TMC only held protests. JD(U) and BJD did not participate in the protests. Hundreds of workers from various Opposition parties, led by DMK, were arrested when they staged protests across Tamil Nadu. The parties slammed the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as a “war on rural poor” that was causing “hardship” to the common man.
DMK Treasurer M K Stalin, state secretaries of CPI-M and CPI G Ramakrishnan and R Mutharasan respectively, along with a several workers of their parties were among those arrested when they staged protests separately in front of central government offices and nationalised banks, police said.
During their protest in the national capital, seven Left parties including the CPI(M) and CPI decried the invalidation of old currency notes as “anti-poor and pro-corporate” and demanded that the government let people use these notes until it makes new notes available. Gwalior district Congress President Darshan Singh died of cardiac arrest in Gwalior soon after submitting a memorandum during the ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ protest.
Gwalior Divisional Commissioner S N Roopla said Singh was part of a Congress delegation which came for submitting the memorandum to him. In Kerala, the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF sponsored 12-hour strike against demonetisation evoked a near total response.
Ruling Congress in Karnataka held protests and rallies throughout the state against demonetisation. The protest affected the functioning of both the Houses of Karnataka Legislature, now in a 10-day winter session at Belagavi, as they did not sit today in line with the decision taken by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC).
Life in Bengaluru and elsewhere remained normal with commercial establishments, educational institutions, banks and private offices working as usual and public transport and Metro maintaining their regular services.
The state-wide 12-hour strike called by Left parties to in West Bengal failed to evoke much response. Government and private buses, trams and other private vehicles were seen plying on the road while most of the shops and markets were open. The strike call by the Left Front has been opposed by the ruling TMC. In Maharashtra, Congress and NCP hit the streets though normal life remained unaffected with no disruption to public transport or functioning of offices and businesses in Mumbai and other parts.