UP traders claim bandh a success, to keep up protests
The nationwide strike called by opposition parties Thursday evoked a mixed response in Uttar Pradesh. While many shops and business establishments opened post lunch, normal life and rail traffic were affected in many parts of the state.
The bandh was nearly complete in Varanasi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Meerut and Bareli and a partial success in Rae Bareli, Kannauj, Amethi, Sultanpur, Jaunpur and Mainpuri.
No untoward incident was reported from any place, but at many places protestors disrupted rail traffic, sending the train services into disarray for several hours.
The trains that were affected included Sabarmati Express, Gomti Express, Swarna Jayanti Express, Utsarg Express, Archana Express and Kishan Express.
Walmart stores in Lucknow and Allahabad were locked down in the face of angry protestors and traders.
Raising anti-UPA slogans, the protestors burnt effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanded rollback of the decisions to allow 51 percent Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail and to raise diesel prices by Rs.5 per litre.
While no notable Samajwadi Party leader is participating in the party's protest in the state, senior national and state BJP leaders are leading demonstrations.
BJP's former national president Rajnath Singh led protests in Lucknow, while national vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was the leader of the protests in Kanpur. State party president Dr Laxmikant Bajpayi was the leader of the protestors in Meerut.
No trucks are plying in the state. All medicine shops have downed shutters in support of the bandh. Samajwadi Party workers protested outside the office of the Northern Railways and the office of the income tax commissioner.
Banwari Lal Kanchal, president of the Uttar Pradesh Vyapar Mandal (association of traders), said protests will not end till the government rolls back the anti-trader move.
Sandeep Bansal, president of the Akhil Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal, another group of traders, claimed that the strike was completely successful and said protests would continue till the "blind and deaf UPA regime" heeded their demands.