Haridwar, September 20
There was a mixed response in the district today to the nationwide call for bandh given by Opposition parties in protest against capping of subsidised LPG cylinders, diesel hike and allowing Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail.
The trading community in the city periphery downed shutters of shops and commercial establishments, while suburban Jwalapur witnessed full closure of such establishments.
In the interior and rural areas, the impact of the shutdown call was hardly visible with a few people burning effigies of the UPA government. A small two-wheeler rally with respective party flags was taken out in a particular area.
While Bharatiya Janata Party activists on their own protested in the streets, Communist parties - CPI and CPM - jointly held a protest with the Samajwadi Party.
The Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (Progressive) came out in support of the shutdown, while Bahujan Samaj Party activists kept silent to the call for bandh.
BJP legislators hailing from Haridwar district Madan Kaushik,(Haridwar city), Aadesh Chauhan (BHEL-Ranipur), Chandrasekhar Bhattewala (Jwalapur) and Sanjay Gupta (Lakshar) remained present in the morning with party activists at their respective Assembly segments.
Addressing an open road meeting, Madan Kaushik lashed out at the UPA government for failing to provide good governance. Instead, its policies were directed against the poor sections of society. The increase in petrol, diesel and LPG rates was an indication to that.
He said that with FDI being allowed in multi-brand retail sector, small-medium traders will be deprived of their livelihoods and prices of commodities will rise, having a direct bearing on the common man's pocket.
Communist parties and Samajwadi Party jointly held a protest in the city. A rally was staged at Chandracharya Chowk where orators lashed out at the Congress for failing to control inflation and in providing subsidies to the people.
District CPI executive member RC Dhiman said that in the UPA-II tenure, petro prices had risen tremendously. Inflation had touched an all-time high.
Uttarakhand Kranti Dal Progressive labour cell secretary Uday Ram Semwal cited loss of public revenue due to the coal scam, 2-G scam and Commonwealth Games scam, involving billions of crores of rupees. Several Congress ministers and leaders stood to benefit due to corrupt practices, he alleged.
“If this money had been utilised in providing subsidies to people in the petrol-diesel-kerosene-LPG sphere, people would have benefited. But the Congress, instead of feeling sorry for these scams, was trying to lessen the subsidy, which showed the intentions of the government,” said Semwal.
The Congress tried to play down today’s bandh with city party chief OP Chauhan terming the Bharat bandh as a failure in Haridwar.
He said that there had been no impact of the shutdown, barring in some pockets in the district where the BJP had influence, and there, too, saffron activists forcibly shut down the shops.
Uttarakhand Congress Committee state unit chief JP Pandey, along with party activists, staged a demonstration at the DM's camp office.
Coming to the defence of the Congress, Pandey said that petrol-diesel prices had been increased according to the fluctuating international oil prices.
On cutting of LPG subsidy cylinders, he pointed out that during the NDA government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the price of LPG per cylinder had been raised from Rs 140 to Rs 232 by BJP, which was now opposing the hike.
Meera Raturi, women's city wing spokesperson, said that the shutdown was no answer. India needed major economic changes in its policies, and everyone’s support was needed.

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