Delhi: Bandh supporters disrupt commutation

Commuters faced trouble in morning while most markets remained closed due to `Bharat bandh` by NDA and Left parties against petrol price hike.

New Delhi: Commuters faced trouble in the morning hours on Thursday in the capital while most markets remained closed as the NDA and Left parties went on a `Bharat Bandh` to protest the petrol price hike.

Though vehicular movement was not affected largely, commuters faced trouble as a large number of autorickshaws kept off the roads during the day. The huge rush in Metro trains added to the woes of common man.

BJP and Left parties as well as traders associations claimed that the bandh was successful.

Major markets in Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Laxmi Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Defence Colony, Khan Market and Connaught Place remained closed, though by evening hours some shops were opened.

Small shops were seen open in many areas in the morning while commuters complained that there were less autos on roads as number of auto and taxi unions have joined the protest.

BJP activists led by Sanjay Joshi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi led the protest in Delhi near Akshardham temple blocking roads Thursday morning. The leaders and several activists were detained.

BJP leaders Ananth Kumar and Vijay Goel courted arrest during their protest in Chandni Chowk along with Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta.

"The bandh shows the public anger against this government. This will be the last nail in its coffin," BJP National Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Left leaders Prakash Karat, A B Bardhan, Sitaram Yechury and D Raja courted arrested along with a number of their supporters near Delhi Gate as part of their protest against petrol price hike.

Karat said the steep raise in petrol prices was an atrocious step of the central government and this hike has resulted in an increase in prices of all essential commodities.

Though the upscale markets were also closed, traders said they were doing it "out of fear".

said Sanjeev Mehra, President of Khan Market Traders Association.

As there were less autos on streets, people chose Metro services and there was huge crowds at such facilities in Laxmi Nagar and Rajiv Chowk besides other places.

Police said the National Highway (NH-24) has been blocked and the Delhi-Rohtak rail route has been choked by BJP workers in the morning.

Buses of state-run Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) were on roads in large numbers.

In Delhi, the protest is also against the state government`s budget proposal to impose a five per cent VAT on CNG.

A senior police official said they have ensured that every major road has police presence.

"We know there are a few protest spots. We warn people not to flout the law. We will take strict action against those violating law," the official said.

In addition to Delhi Police, around 3,500 paramilitary personnel were also deployed to ensure that nothing untoward happen during the protest.