New Delhi: The unprecedented hike in petrol prices has helped the Left and the Right to make common cause on Thursday for a nationwide protest, described by BJP and its allies as Bharat Bandh and by Left as All India Protest Day. This is the second time that the BJP, Left and other non-Congress parties will be coordinating their agitations since the last Lok Sabha elections to give the impression of a wider Opposition unity on issues concerning people.
A similar agitation against petrol price hike had happened on July 5, 2010.
Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, which is supporting the UPA goverment from outside, has also given the bandh call on Thursday so has BJD in Odisha.
Amid indications that the Opposition has also attempted to rope in some UPA allies, which have strongly protested the hike, BJP President Nitin Gadkari today asked parties like DMK- which has opposed the petrol price hike- to join the bandh today.
‘The UPA government has increased petrol prices on 18 to 19 occasions. Now even the Rupee has fallen further. The situation is deteriorating in such a manner that we have reached the stage where we may have to pledge our gold again. We would like all parties, opposed to the petrol hike, to join our protest,’ Gadkari told reporters on Wednesday.
NDA convener Sharad Yadav said the Opposition parties do not believe the statement of the government that it will not increase diesel and LPG prices.
‘They are saying it because they are under pressure from the Opposition now. Their argument that the government has no role in petrol price hike is an eyewash. People's anger on the issue will be visible during the Bharat Bandh today,’ said Yadav.