Bharat Bandh: Normal life unaffected in Delhi, Congress stages protests at petrol pumps

NEW DELHI, Sept 10: Normal life remained unaffected in Delhi on Monday with offices, schools and colleges opening at their regular time and vehicles plying on roads despite a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by the Congress and protests staged by it across the national capital against the steep hike in petrol and diesel prices.
Traffic movement was normal across the city. However, roads leading to Rajghat and Ramlila Maidan where Congress president Rahul Gandhi and senior party leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, held a protest witnessed heavy traffic.
Delhi Congress workers staged dharnas at petrol pumps across the city, protesting against the hike in fuel prices.
Heavy police deployment was made in the city with reserve police forces and motorcycle patrols being put on high alert, a senior police officer said.
The officer said police personnel have been deployed at petrol pumps across Delhi to ensure no untoward incident takes place.
Senior Congress leaders, including Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken, protested by riding a bullock cart to a petrol pump near Rajendra Place. A scooter was kept down on the cart symbolising plight of the common man.
Thousands of party workers are on the streets protesting against fuel price hike by the government, said party leader Mukesh Sharma.
Maken said protests were held “peacefully” and the party did not want to create more problems for the people who are already hit by “unprecedented” rise in petrol and diesel prices.
“The prices of fuels have gone up without any break because the AAP government in Delhi and the BJP-ruled central government have kept on increasing VAT and excise duties on petroleum products,” the Congress leader said.
Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surje-wala said that the prices of petrol and diesel have reached Rs 83 per litre and Rs 73 per litre respectively.
Many opposition parties have joined the call of ‘Bharat Bandh’ given by the Congress. Several opposition leaders joined Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders of the party in a protest march at Rajghat Monday morning.
Offices were opened on time and official work was not affected at the Delhi Secretariat due to the strike call, an official said.
Schools and colleges also had classes on time though students experienced difficulties in finding transportation. (PTI)
A transport department official said DTC buses and cluster buses were running as usual and no reports of disruption were received so far.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders Sanjay Singh, Atishi and Dilip Pandey also took part in protests.
Singh said that all the parties should come together on issues of national interest.
“The rise in petrol and diesel prices shows that the Modi government after its ‘pakoda’ scheme is coming out with ‘katora (bowl) scheme’,” he said.
AAP leader Atishi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should answer as to why inflation has gone up manifolds in the past four years.
Hitting out at Modi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that the BJP-led central government has “failed” to deliver on its promises, adding that they “failed” to take necessary steps.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha said that people are suffering due to the unprecedented hike in petro and diesel prices.
“Nobody in the government is willing to listen. This nation has never accepted arrogance…Diesel and petrol prices are all time high. We are all together against it,” Jha said.
The Congress has appealed to its workers not to indulge in any violent protest. (PTI)