New Delhi: The Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI(M)) today claimed massive response to the protest day on September 20, 2012. Eight parties had given a call for observing the day through hartal, picketing and court arrests against the steep rise in prices of diesel, limiting of gas cylinders and opening retail trade to FDI. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had also called for a bandh on Thursday.
“The hartal has been successful in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and other states,” said release.
Amid clashes with the All India Trinamool Congress workers, the Left party said that there was a total strike in West Bengal. Vehicles and traffic was off the roads; shops and markets were closed; workers in the industrial establishments and tea gardens were on strike and schools and colleges were closed. Tripura, where the CPI(M) has total control, observed a complete bandh. The party took out protest marches in Kerala where a hartal had been already observed on September 15. The marches, which occurred in all the 140 assembly constituencies, were under the banner of the Left and Democratic Front.
In Delhi, leaders of the eight parties among them Mulayam Singh Yadav, HD Deve Gowda, Chandrababu Naidu, Prakash Karat, S Sudhakar Reddy, AB Bardhan, Ram Gopal Yadav and Sitaram Yechury courted arrest at Parliament Street.
In Tamilnadu, Left leaders and cadres conducted picketing in 200 places. More than 50,000 protestors were arrested.
In Odisha, the BJD has called for a protest day on September 17 due to the Nuakhai festival in western Odisha. The Left parties and the Samajwadi party called for a hartal on September 20 which was observed widely with transport, shops and commercial establishments closed.
In Maharashtra, there was no strike in Mumbai because of Ganesh Chaturthi. Protest demonstrations and local strikes took place in various cities and towns.