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Oppn’s Bharat Bandh today
Left, Right to corner Centre over fuel price hike

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
Opposition parties, including those under the BJP-led NDA fold and the Left Front, today put up a united face for tomorrow’s Bharat Bandh in protest against last week’s hike in fuel prices. The Centre, however, remained unfazed and ruled out any rollback, saying “strike was no solution”.

Transport services and the free movement of people is likely to be affected as protesters may stop buses and other modes of transport in various parts of the country. The impact may be more in the northern states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, ruled by parties that constitute the Opposition at the Centre — BJP & SAD-BJP, respectively.

And in the National Capital, the public could face hardships as the workers of opposition parties plan to block traffic. For driving home a point, the protesters are likely to target the roads leading to commercial centres like Gurgaon and Noida.

Top NDA leaders today met at BJP leader LK Advani’s residence to chalk out a strategy to successfully enforce tomorrow’s Bharat Bandh. “This may be the first time in the history of Indian politics that almost all political parties will participate in the Bharat Bandh,” Advani said after the meeting.

Also, the BJP has decided to depute its senior leaders in various state capitals to lead demonstrations and protest marches there. Party president Nitin Gadkari and former chief Rajnath Singh would lead the show in the National Capital.

With the monsoon session of Parliament starting in the last week of July, the Opposition has found a common cause for cornering the government on the floor of the House. The Bharat Bandh may just be a precursor to the showdown.

For his part, Pranab Mukherjee, in Kolkatta, ruled out a rollback in the prices of petroleum products even as his colleague and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said the bandh was “no solution” and that it was “unjustified”. Also, the Petroleum Ministry released advertisements in newspapers with a message that the Bharat Bandh was not a solution.





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