Opposition’s Bharat Bandh turns flop against demonetisation across India

Photo of leader of opposition parties holding protest against government's currency demonetisation.

New Delhi: Divided opposition parties came down on streets during its Bharat Bandh throughout the country today to protest against the scrapping of high value currency but the protests were largely turned flop except of few states.

The Left called a ‘Bharat Bandh’ against the November 8 demonetisation and the widespread currency shortage. Most other political parties marked it as “Aakrosh Diwas”.

Normal life was completely hit in Left-ruled Kerala and Tripura while Left activists partly halted rail and road traffic in Bihar.

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The protests in West Bengal was lead by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who demanded oust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from politics.

Banerjee told a massive rally in Kolkata, “I appeal to everybody, take a vow-either I will die or live, but remove Modi from politics. There is no place for dictators like you, Modi babu.”

The West Bengal Chief Minister asked Modi to take back his “disastrous decision” of banning the old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, saying it had caused widespread misery and some 80 deaths in the country.

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The shutdown (‘Bharat Bandh) appeared to be total successful in Kerala. Only private vehicles plied, offices saw minimal attendance and normal life was crippled. Banks in Kerala too were allowed to remain open.

In Bihar the strike evoked a mixed response in Bihar. Normal life was hit in some rural areas, but urban areas were largely unaffected. Train and road traffic was disrupted in some places.

The Congress along with Rashtriya Janata Dal did not join the shutdown but staged protests. The Janata Dal-United of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar kept away itself from both the strike and demonstrations.

In New Delhi, the Congress described the demonetisation as the “biggest scam in independent India” and asked Modi to apologise for the “mess” he had created.

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In most states, opposition activists and leaders staged noisy protests.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the scheme had flopped vis-a-vis its stated objectives.

The ‘Bharat Bandh’ evoked little support in Uttar Pradesh, where both the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) and the ruling Samajwadi Party are bitter critics of demonetisation.

The BSP leader Mayawati said, “BJP says the opposition has called a Bharat Bandh but the fact is the BJP itself has done a Bharat Bandh by demonetising high currency notes.”

Led by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, leaders from the Congress, CPI-M, CPI, DMK and RJD protested outside Parliament. Both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were again adjourned on Monday.

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