Rediff.com asked readers for their views on the Bharat bandh, called by Opposition leaders. here are some of the numerous responses we received. If you want to express your views on the strike, post your messages here.
IamINDIAN: When the government elected by people acts against the good of the people who voted them to power and is bend upon doing every thing against the wishes of the people and that government is having majority or managing majority (thanks to oppurtunist politics) in the no confidence motions to send them out then what is the choice left to the people except orgainsing protest and bandhs to tell them they are against the policies of the goverment?. Do we have a choice?
Asok Das: This kind of 'bandh' will have no effect on unavoidable raised price of petroleum products, except for applying a brake on our on-going economy. Our CITU leaders did not do any constructive work in their life time except for calling frequent 'Bandh', they have no contribution at all towards economic development -- India is now considered an economic power in Asia, which is not welcome by these so called leaders, due to some obvious vested interest. Our main problem is democracy which these kind of leaders take full advantage of. Let them learn from their role model China where there is no 'bandh' or strike.
Abhishek Chokhani: No government has been able to improve basic infrastructure like security, roads, drainage, cleanliness, law and order, industrialization and unlimited corruption. When foreigners visit our country and feel the pathetic infrastructure we feel embarrassed and blushed. Almost every commodity has been encircled by heavy duties and taxes. For services there are exhorbitant service taxes and everything is constantly increasing. 545 Members of Parliament are treating 110 crore population as slaves. We are really helpless in controlling government people stomach which is bigger than space. We lack unity. Worst hit is the common man who has to suppress his anguish and anger and suffer. Bandh will only gift government losses and induce them to further increase prices. What to support and what to not... People in government have deaf ears.
Vijoy Shrivastava: Bandh or No Bandh. This Govt deserves to be kicked out at once. Never in the history has any Govt been so insensitive towards the Price rise. Absolutely no control. The ministers have been totally insensitive. They are talking about the doubling the salary of MPs & MLAs, but what about the Aam Janta. Even the upper middle class heve been hit with this consistent rise in prices. Shame on Congress. It was never so bad. A change at the helm is the call of the day.
Manoj Nair: The majority voted for UPA in the last election was clearly the way they handled economic recession during 2007-08. But when it comes to price rise, they are silent non actors. This will clearly bring them down.
NNV Subramanian: The overwhelming response of the people to the Bharat bandh (which is total in all parts of the country) is a slap on the face of the Finance Minister, who loftily said "There will no roll back of Fuel Prices"
Anish Dharwadkar: Atleast it (the bandh) is sending a strong message to the deaf & dumb UPA govt. Whether it is Left supported or BJP supported, it was required to wake up the govt from the slumber. No doubt it is not going to make any difference to the govt of the day. It is the aam aadmi, who is suffering not only on Bandh day but everyday.
Hebbar R: Such a bandh, though troublesome for people in need, seems to be the only way that this Govt understands. Ever since the prices of fuels have been raised, there have been lots and lots of opinions expressed by people. But, if the Govt had chosen not to remain adamant and insensitive, there would not have been a need for such a bandh. After many years, one can see in this bandh a spontaneous and voluntary support of the people. If they are not complacent, the Congress should certainly get jittery about this and learn their lessons. Otherwise, they would know their fate, just as the BJP did in the last elections.
Praveen Roy: That there was no protest for so long, the congress government took it for granted and continued raising prices of crude at regular and small intervals. Whereas the earning capacity of individual remained same, spendings has increased. The congress was brought back thinking that they know the economics better. But if inflation is at its highest figure in so little time, congress has failed to live upto expectation. A governement is elected to do welfare of its people. If it fails, it is no more needed. Rich and middle class people may somewhat withstand the price rise but how will under-priviledged, downtrodden and poor will bear the pressure who could barely earn bread for two times and nothing to save. Those who talk about rising and progressive India should think atleast once about these section of people. They reperesent the larger India. Those making presence in various summits and forum on issues relating to India are only handful. These handful of people if become insensitive to poor's welfare, may not be required at the helm of affairs. The protest was inevitable and has been lodged after a lot of price rise has already been effected. It doesn't matter the way of protest. You need to express--hate it or love it. Whereas love reflected in reelection of government, can't keep hating until next election which is four years hence.
BN Grover: Bandh is not the solution; it benefits only political parties ano not common people. I give an argument -- All people require 6th pay commission, All leaders require their daily allowances to be hiked, free travel, free calls, free traveling, etc. etc, All farmers require free power, water and diesel etc with a loan waiver? Do you think all these come free? we pay taxes and all is distributed as largessse? we need to stop Corruption in life. we need to punish hoarders. we need to punish parties making public fool by calling bandh. Last Bandh resulted in loss of crore of rupees to exchequer. Public spent 4-5 hours blocked in bandh.
Raju Krishnaswamy: This government should go. They are making the lives of several middleclass suffer by raising prices of essential food items beyond reach. Petrol prices increased will effect milk, vegetable and pulses and put the aam admi under stress and tension.
Kavita Jhaveri: In our nation, people misuse freedom. Politics and Power call the shots. Is this bandh going to make the existing government lean into the demands? Would the opposition have been any different had they been in power? Is it going to only disrupt the lives of the common man for a day? When will this bandh system come to a bandh itself??
Vin Sure: I think all the aam janata should support the Bandh and show the response to the price hike. Leave the politics behind, just to show that we are suffering.
Kishori Prasad: I have never in my life supported any kind of bandh by any political party till-date. But presently I have been so much tormented by continuous price hike of all commodities across the board that I am compelled to support this bandh in the fond hope that the govt takes serious note of it, even as my own conscious is against the bandh.
Vinod Gupta: Nothing will be achieved by this bandh. Yes there has been unprecedented price rise in the last 2-3 years but by calling for a Bharat bandh these politicians are only adding to the misery of the common man. Traffic has come to a standstill, things of daily use have become even more costlier because of this bandh. People have closed their business establishments not to support the bandh but to protect themselves from the goons and hooligans. Will this Bandh help in bringing the prices down??? I doubt so.
Patricia Williams: What ultimately is the outcome of a Bandh? Does it do anything to help the middle class. People are put to so much hardship and life comes to a standstill in most of the big metros. No matter how much progress we make, we still need a lot of fuel for our brains. Its time we stopped resorting to bandhs, strikes, boycotts, etc. Why should anyone support a bandh. What good does it do for the common man. The only incidents that take place during a bandh is burning of buses, attacking shops which are open and resorting to hooliganism. When are we going to grow up? Are people being educated only to resort to these sort of cheap methods
Sayyam: I support the Bandh, but not like what BJP is doing, it should be peaceful. This morning, some BJP workers smashed some buses and deflated cars on the road, it was all happening just a few steps from my home. Who will bear this cost??? ofcourse, we common people. We have to act smartly, we should ask what exactly the Govt is doing. In all, we are burdened with more taxes and cost of living. The basic things are still not avilable fully. So we have to ask them how they are spending the money. We will not support them further like this.
Jayanta Mukherjee: It is a useless show of desperation by the people who have called this bandh. If seen closely, both Left Front and, BJP has lost their social and political relevance. This bandh has been called to serve their own political agenda... let us not get carried away by their so called "concern" for the poor"!!! None of these leaders would lose even half morsel of their food even if the prices rise. They are well looked after and, perpetually well fed. This bandh actually harms the people these leaders pretend to help, who compensates for their loss of earning for the day!!!! But in our country we are victims of politicisation...therfore, this show of power will go on...
Uppada Subrahmanyam: Bandh has no meaning. It is just opposition's gimmick to get to power. No Government in this world can pay subsidies above manufacturing cost of a product. Why should Indian government get loans from outside and provide subsidies on Oil & LPG? The users are middle and upperclass who can afford the pricerise. This amount should be used on creating infrastructure that would boost the economy of this country. This is the only way to make the nation self reliant and reduce the poverty. The best sufferers of non-price rise policy in the country are West Bengal and Kerala where the state Governments go for loans to compensate their Revenue deficits
Anubhav Johri: Nationwide 12-hour strike is to protest against the astronomical rise in prices. This type of serious strikes are necessary, but it should more be organised. The common man should also be involved in this apart from the party workers. Also it should not be violent.
Aslam Hunani: It is essential to have such a bandh to keep the government in check. They cannot take anyone for granted, this is ridiculous. Even essential food items are now becoming a luxury.
Himanshu Singh: Bandhs never resolve any issue. However, they do create issues of their own. Unfortunately in this country no political party is serious about what is good for the nation and its people. BJP and Left were losing grounds, as shown by recent elections. They needed to show their strength. Unfortunately this is the only way they know: Make the comon man suffer and blame it on the government.
sk ms: Price rise is not justified. It is a cartel and affects common man. inflation needs to be under control. All agreed. But is shutting down the whole business and getting the nation to a standstill a solution? It just adds to the miseries of the common man. Its not that autos won't run on bandh. It's just that they charge double. Vegetables are available on bandh backdoor. But at double price. What's the logic behind shutting down the basic commodities and transport? Let the protest be there, but don't stop the regular business. All the losses due to the bandh is not paid from the pockets of our leaders. It's again extracted from the common man in the form of price rise or taxes or some hidden form. It's high time any form or closure or strikes are not allowed that effects common man.
Sanjeev Singh: The fact is that it is time for common man to sacrifice one day of comfort for the issue -- A lot might be earning good income to feel the pinch, but most of them are off today and holidaying in Shimla, goa... Those who are blaming opposition should realise that it's oppostion duty to raise the people's voice. Anyway those who don't go to vote shouldn't have thier voice counted. Common middle class Indians are hypocrates.
Anupam Kumar: I sincerely support the Bharat bandh -- not to support the Opposition but to protest against the government for not controlling inflation and not taking any steps to control it.
Piyush Agrawal: Though I have always opposed bandhs, this time I am fully supporting and participating. The inflation is rampant and all that the government is doing is just to increase it. Yeserday, I was travelling by road and the toll tax on Dhulia-Mumbai road was increased from Rs 70 to Rs 90. All such increases add to overall inflation. Though it doesn't affect the rich much, it does affect a common man earning Rs 15000-20000 a month very badly. It's easy to say sitting in AC rooms that bandh is not good but it's the last resort for the common man, who is helpless as even the media and newspapers are just supporting the govt. and rich people. No one cares about us. Sometimes I even wonder if I would like my children to grow up in this country in the current situation where there is no law and order, no importance of merit, inefficient politicians and a media just running after sensational news without any importance. I fully support this bandh no matter what the so called great economists and govt supporters say.
Man Indian: The growing apathy and intolerance of this govt. towards comman man is alarming. It would be better for them to recall the onion price rice issue which led to the fall of then ruling party. This anti-people govt. should not be alowed to come to power again.
Saurabh Agarwal: I support the agitation of the NDA against the price rise. Congress always does that. They never allowed India to develop in last 50 yrs of rule and same they are doing now. They are ruining this country and not developing it.
Wasil Dhingra: BJP & the Left, as a whole, lack the civic sense and commonsense, which are absolutely necessary for a good and responsible politician. Price rise is not just happening in India rather its a global phenomenon. It's obvious that the BJP and the Left lack the knowledge of economics because they don't know that a country cannot be a part of a global community without sharing the same costs as other countries are bearing. As far as petrol prices/diesel prices and other Government controlled prices are concerned, well they were controlled because Govt. provided subsidy for them but then at the end of the day how long can the govt feed us on subsidy. BJP lacks civic sense because the Bandh itself would contribute to the price rise as Economy stays shut,or atleast looses pace, for a day. Thus their lack or rational is quite clear. BJP tries to fool the ordinary Indian with their antics and misguiding them about economics and all.
Kumar Yavaneet: Instead of organising the Bharat Bandh, if opposition sit with the government and try to understand why price rise in necessary or work with the Govt (giving ideas,suggestions, inputs etc) to scale down the increasing pricises. I assume This will be the correct way to handle this.
Ranjeet Reddy: I do not approve of Bandhs because they are a national waste. It causes a lot of hardship to common man. Please think about a common man who eeks out living by daily labour. Due to bandh he and his family would have to go hungry. Besides the working class who have to commute to work have to pay double and tripple to go for work. Instead can all these so called people who are fighting for people can think about some programme to do something constructive like cleaning up the city, conducting health camps in slums...etc and educate people to write to PM and President and protest in front of house of PM, CMs, Rulling party president..etc so that the common man is not disturbed and he will be benefitted and the message is sent to right people. By stopping the whole country you are not helping anybody but are furthering the cause for which you are fighting -- Price rice. So all politicians please show some creativity and so something positive for the country and people. Please do not harm us.
Anand Bhaiya: Not that we like any bandhs or strikes -- but then what is the means of protest. Sharad Pawar gives stupid statements on price rise and control. Despite Montek, Chidambaram, Manmohan Singh -- there is only talk new pojects finance decontrol -- on the price front -- it doesnt matter since none of the politicians or bureaucrats are affected.
Dal has gone from Rs28/- to Rs80/- -- but then Politicians & Bureaucrats enjoy all the subsidies at work. Just sad.
Vineet Rana: I think closing down business and other instituitons again will affect the common man only. I am totally against the this way of protest against Price Hike or inflation or any other issue. We should think of other way to awake the system. By system I mean any government because the situation would have been the same even If NDA were the ruling Party at Centre. In that case today congress would have rolled out the Nation Wide Bandh. So i guess we should look for other way to out.
Amit Kakri: The aam aadmi's plight in the past six years has become very pitable; Yes I support this bandh against spiraling inflation
Vikram Kotru: Having a bandh is not the solution to the price rise. Common man was already troubled and now with this bandh, many won't have meal today! This is like taking a step back everytime we take 2!
Khaliqur Rahman: Don't forget when world people were losing jobs, India was hiring... This was the govt in power. I strongly oppose BANDH, only anti Indians are following it They should be considered anti-social and booked under MCOCA.They are all foolish.
Ashim Sarkar: I am supporting the bandh. People like me who earn Rs 6000 to 7000 p.m... How will they run their famalies? Everybody should stand up against the price hike.
Veldandi Swapna: It is very clear that bandhs are meant for publicity of the parties. After all if we think, is there any single bandh which achieved its goal apart from halting public life? Irrespective of the cause, bandhs are nonsense. There is a way to protest. Why can't we protest like developed countries who will just wear black badges or form a human chain. Why are we destroying our property? Is the success of bandh measured in terms of how many buses are destroyed? We should really ban politicians who initiate these kind of bandhs.
udayraj: Responsibility of inflation lies entirely on oil refineries like RIL, ONGC, Essar Oil, etc. Price rigging in the international crude oil market is the total responsibility of large oil refineries & marketing companies. The futures trading by small players excluding these oil companies is futures trading for profit. They are not interested in manipulation, but these large oil marketing companies are in large profits due to oil price hike. Govt. of India is doing in favour of oil refineries to totally transferring TOTAL OIL PRICE to "AAM ADAMI". Ultimately oil companies will benefit from this. This Govt. is not "AAM ADMI" Govt. but multinational companies govt. So each person has to think whether this Govt will sustain in power or being left out. Same is the thing about current opposition i.e. whether they are promising to not being responsible for future pricehike & inflation. Whether windfall profit tax be implimented in India or not, is the key question.
Gokuldas Nayak: Bandh is an essential part of our life. This is an instrument to expose an elected government's undoing. High cost of living is choking the limited resource available to the common man. If BJP is in power, the Congress party then in opposition will do nothing different than this. Fortunately during BJP regime the cost of living had not shot up to this level.Media shud exercise restraint at this time and not add fuel to the bandh aftermath. After all bandh is an inherited instrument from independance days.
Bhupesh Shah: Bandh can never solve a problem. It puts addininol pressure on the country Econamy and its groth. Bandh is a solution derived only from negative elements who do not wish growth of the country but are wishing to achive personal or party growth through creating pressure on things which are not in control of the ruling government
Mushtaque Shaikh: Bharat bandh is only a political propaganda