Afternoon Voice

Bharat Bandh: Congress protest in Maharashtra, block rail traffic

The Maharashtra Congress on Monday staged protests in various parts of the state in response to the Bharat Bandh called by the party’s central leadership against rising fuel prices.

The shutdown is backed by other opposition parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the Samajwadi Party, the Peasants and Workers’ Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

In Mumbai, Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan led the party’s protest, travelling by a local train to Andheri railway station before staging a rail roko there.

Congress leaders Manikrao Thakare, Naseem Khan and others joined Mr Chavan during the protest as party workers raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.

The opposition party also hit out at the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in Maharashtra.

“The Modi and Fadnavis governments have engaged in loot by levying excise charges (on fuel products). It is unjust. It is destroying the lives of people. Hence, we are observing this protest. We demand withdrawal of the fuel price hike,” Mr Chavan told reporters.

The Congress leaders staged protest for around 15 minutes before they were taken away by security personnel to the nearby DN Nagar Police Station in suburban Andheri.

In Pune, suspected workers of the MNS reportedly vandalised buses to protest the rising fuel prices. Protests were also staged in several other parts of the state, including Manmad, Nashik, Kolhapur, Pandharapur (Solapur district) and Virar (Palghar district).

Petrol and diesel prices set new records on Sunday.

According to the price notification issued by state fuel retailers, the price of petrol was raised by 12 paise a litre and diesel by 10 paise per litre on Sunday.