Chandigarh: The nationwide strike call given by trading associations against foreign investiment in retail saw a muted to mixed response in parts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh on Thursday.
Shop-owners downed their shutters in some areas of Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala, Sangrur and Bathinda cities of Punjab. Markets remained shut for a couple of hours in the morning in various other towns too but opened later.
The nationwide protest against Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail sector was called by the Confederation of All India Trade Associations to demand rollback of the cabinet decision to permit 51 percent foreign equity in multi-brand retailing and 100 percent in single-brand format.
In Chandigarh, most of the markets functioned normally for the better part of the day. Some traders associations and activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held demonstrations.
In Amritsar, the local MP, Navjot Singh Sidhu, led the protest against the central government`s decision to allow FDI in retail.
"I will quit politics if anyone defeats me in a debate on allowing FDI in retail," Sidhu told reporters in Amritsar.
The BJP`s alliance partner in Punjab, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has so far sided with the decision to allow FDI in retail.
In Haryana, where a Congress-led government is in power, the strike evoked a mixed response.
Some shops remained closed in Sonepat, Panipat and a few other towns. Business in other parts of the state remained normal.