By NVONews.Com Correspondent,
New Delhi/ Patna: Thursday Bharat Bandh was a significant departure from many other such protest shutdowns organized in India in last several years.
The Left Front leaders––A B Bardhan of the CPI and Sitaram Yechury of CPM––shared dais with the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
This happened at the time when the saffron party’s own alliance partners hold somewhat different view, especially on FDI. For example Shiv Sena, one of the oldest NDA constituents, along with the breakaway group, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, refused to participate in Bharat Bandh.
Though Akali Dal supported the Bandh in Punjab it has somewhat different stand on Foreign Direct Investment in the multi-brand retail sector. After all Punjab’s economy is still agrarian.
The Janata Dal (United), the first secular outfit to join the NDA way back in 1996, supported the Bandh call, but the Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar, gave some very strange statement on the eve of the shutdown that it caused serious embarrassment to the BJP. He said that he would support any party in the Centre after 2014 Lok Sabha election which supports his special status category demand for the state. A couple of days back too he gave a confusing statement saying that mid-term election is not round the corner when the BJP is clamouring for Manmohan Singh’s resignation. The BJP leaders are wary of his double-speak on a number of issues, not just Narendra Modi.
Though the Left leaders shared dais with the BJP leaders, they also took part in the rally in New Delhi with the leaders of Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (Secular), Biju Janata Dal and Telugu Desam Party. Thus in a way the four Left parties dispelled all the notions of coming closer to the BJP.
Apart from that there was more element of spontaneity in Thursday’s Bandh. Unlike other shutdowns, in which shopkeepers sometimes resist, on Thursday they voluntarily downed their shutters as the opposition parties were espousing their cause.
At places small and middle traders and retail shop-owners even participated in imposing the Bandh.
Though the Bandh can be dubbed as successful as most opposition parties supported it at the core of the heart the BJP is feeling concerned as three of the oldest constituents of the National Democratic Alliance are singing in a different tune. That too at the time when their support is very crucial
Besides, it can not count on the support of the chief ministers like Mamata Banerjee and Jayalalithaa.