Bandh partial, peaceful in state

Manaknagar

The bandh called by the BJP, Left and Samajwadi Party to demand rollback of the recent petrol price hike evoked mixed response in Uttar Pradesh, as markets and business establishments remained partially closed, but road traffic was largely unaffected.

BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpai, riding a bullock-cart, led a demonstration near the Vidhan Bhawan where the Assembly session is under way. In a statement, the BJP said that instead of simply blaming the UPA government for petrol price hike, the SP should withdraw its support.

Samajwadi Party workers, meanwhile, disrupted railway traffic by blocking tracks in Lucknow, Agra, Ferozabad, Fatehpur and Allahabad for a few hours.

Inspector General of Police (Law & Order) BP Singh said that the bandh was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.

In Lucknow, markets remained closed in Hazratganj, Mahanagar, Aminabad, Chowk and Alambagh till afternoon. SP and BJP workers forced closure of shops, but restaurants remained open. In areas like Gomti Nagar, Indira Nagar, Nishatganj, Sadar, Vikas Nagar and Aliganj, however, the shops stayed open. A group of SP workers stopped a train at Birhana railway crossing in Wazirganj area, but they were later dispersed by the police.

SP workers took out motorcycle rallies in the Old city, Hazratganj and trans-Gomti areas in the morning, raising slogans against the central government. They also burnt effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

"We want the UPA government to roll back the price hike. The state government is not in a position to reduce VAT on petrol. The bandh call is successful," SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.

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