I do not know whether there is a practice of calling ‘Bandh’ – as a mark of protest – in other countries! But, I am sure they are a regular part of Indian politics!! But, let us realise….the entire concept of ‘bandh’ is met with a public attitude of resignation and cynicism. In fact, people ‘do not work’ that day, play cricket, feel helpless, stay indoors watching movies, visit relatives/ friends etc
Petrol went up by Rs 3.70 per litre, diesel by Rs 2 and the LPG cylinder became dearer by Rs 35. And they are essential for transportation, daily cooking – a bare necessity – for the common man. I can understand that the crude oil in the international markets have remained ‘high’ for quite sometime. So, I do not know why this late reaction by the ruling alliance?…….Is it because congress controlled ‘coalition’ after last lok sabha elections.Is it because they need not make any more populist moves, having cornered opposition?
Or is it a remedial ‘sound economics’ corrective to curtail fiscal deficit due to subsidy in petrol and diesel prices for long? Whatever may be the reason….the public were put to discomfort, buses burnt, private vehicles attacked, shops ransacked in a move by the ‘united’ opposition to exhibit their strength in holding Bharat Bandh. The losses were to the tune of Rs 10000 crores because of nation not working a full day and prime time on TV occupied and wasted by political (huh?) debates.The concern of ‘daily wage earners’ was totally overlooked. In addition to this, flights to and fro Mumbai were delayed or cancelled, road travel and trains were stopped in the economic capital. Imagine the impact/ losses, if the economic capital Mumbai does not work for a single day?
Nationwide shut-down (due to public fear) forced by the Opposition parties to protest against rising prices may have achieved its aim for a ‘single’ day! Yes, there is inflation touching double digits and the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) is forced to ‘pay’ to buy the essential commodities! Rising food prices as well as a general inflation are certainly a matter of concern for the public. And, I do agree the opposition parties have a ‘right’ to voice their concern on issues of national importance. In fact, it is their responsibility to do so! But, will a bandh help them in realising their objective other than creating mayhem and chaos. The times have changed now.
The ‘dandi march’ against the British tax on salt or the civil disobedience movement during the course of freedom struggle made sense then but nowadays, the governments being coalition, the responsibility for good governance is laid equally on the Opposition as well as ruling alliance. If the system is faulty, the Opposition has equal responsibility ( even though it is lesser than what ‘ruling alliance’ has) to correct the same.
I wish the Opposition is ‘intellectually’ better equipped to find solutions to the problems instead of creating new ones. There was only ‘loss’ incurred nationwide and it served to be only a aberration. There should be long-standing solutions to the problems and they should target the issues concerning public concern rather than political muscle power.