Bharat Bandh evokes mixed response

The day-long Bharat Bandh evoked a mixed response in most states of India, except for West Bengal, Kerala and Telangana
Bharat Bandh evokes mixed response

New Delhi: The day-long Bharat Bandh evoked a mixed response in most states of India, except for West Bengal, Kerala and Telangana, on Wednesday. The strike call was issued by a total of 10 Central Trade Unions against the Centre's "anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national" and they also released a 12-point charter of demands. The only Central trade union to have stayed away from Bharat Bandh was Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). However, BMS had organised its own nationwide strike on January 3 against government policies.

Total bandh in 9 states, says CITU's Tapan Sen

"There was total bandh in Kerala, Tripura, Assam, Bihar, Punjab, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Goa, and several other states. Shops and road transport were closed totally in Tripura defying the warning by BJP goons not to do so. In West Bengal, and in many districts of Jharkhand, Karnataka etc there was bandh like situation," said CITU's General Secretary Tapan Sen.

Rahul Gandhi extends support to Bharat Bandh

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also extended support to the strike call by Central trade unions and slammed the Modi government, saying its "anti-people and anti-labour" policies have created catastrophic unemployment in the country. He also said that this weakening of PSUs is being done to justify their sale to PM Narendra Modi's crony capitalists friends. Extending support to the January 8 strike call given by over 25 crore workers, he said, "I salute them."

Why are people protesting?

According to the trade unions, these 'anti-people' policies include the massive disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs, the 100 percent stake sale of Air India and merger and amalgamation of public sector banks. Even though the strike covers a spectrum of issues, the cause of disinvestment in the public sector has dominated the discourse this year. The disinvestment plan that has evoked the fiercest backlash is that of BPCL. Employee unions across the oil PSU sector have held a number of strikes so far and have asked the government why is it privatising a profit-making company.

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