A half-day bandh called by Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP alliance against the steep hike in prices of petroleum products on Monday evoked a poor response across the state.
While markets were forcibly closed at a few places, shops and other business establishments in a most of the areas functioned normally during the bandh period.
However, a SAD spokesman claimed the half-day bandh was a “complete succe”s” even as the Congress MLA Avtar Singh Brar described it as a “cruel joke” saying that the state government itself had levied heavy VAT on diesel and petrol items. Earlier during the day, The commercial establishments in the border districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarantaran, Ferozepur remained open. While the SAD supporters forcibly stopped bot the rail and road traffic between Amritsar and Pathankot, in Doaba region the markets remained open as usual.
In Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala and Jalandhar, the shops pulled down the shutters only to open it late in the morning. In Bathinda and Muktsar, considered a stronghold of the ruling Badal family, the response to the bandh call was very poor.
Reacting to the bandh call, state congress president vice-president Lal Singh and General Secretary Arvind Khanna said it was a political gimmick of the ruling alliance and was rejected by the people” “Instead of playing gimmicks, the state government should withdraw the extra taxes imposed on the essential commodities like petrol and diese”.”
However, the SAD leaders claimed that the bandh was a complete success.
In a statement issued from the party head office here SAD spokesman. Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, said that people of the state whole heartedly supported the bandh. He said that shops, bazaars, markets and other commercial establishments remained closed in all the big and small towns of the state and situation remained peaceful.