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Strike unites opposition

The Bharat Bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance [NDA], Left parties and the Samajwadi Party to protest against diesel price hike, foreign direct investment [FDI] in multi-brand retail and cap on subsidised LPG cylinder on Thursday evoked mixed response. While the bandh was a success in the non-Congress states, it did not have much impact in other states. In West Bengal, the strike was a partial success, and some incidents of violence were reported.

Trains and road traffic were blocked in many areas in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha. Karnataka and Gujarat witnessed complete shutdown, with several areas in Rajasthan too getting affected.

The national capital remained largely unaffected, though some markets and a few private schools remained closed fearing violence. The shutdown evoked little response in Mumbai owing to Ganesh festivities across Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena kept away from the day-long strike.

The bandh also saw Left leaders A B Bardhan and Sitaram Yechury sharing stage with the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Nitin Gadkari. However, the Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu did not share the stage with BJP leaders but joined hands at the Left protest rally.

The industry, however, was not impressed with the strike. The Confederation of Indian Industry [CII] estimated that almost Rs 12,500 crore had been lost due to disruptions in production and trade. The CII also said that the government should not roll-back the recent reform measures under political pressure.
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