Central trade unions, except the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), have called for a nationwide strike today, citing dissatisfaction with the government’s “policy and action” towards workers.
Reportedly, the Wednesday’s Bharat Bandh is the fourth nationwide strike called by 10 central trade unions since the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in 2014.
Banking services at public sector banks, transports and other services across the country are hit on Wednesday due to a nationwide strike called by 10 central trade unions.
Various bank employee associations, including AIBEA, All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA), BEFI, INBEF, INBOC and Bank Karmachari Sena Mahasangh (BKSM), have expressed their support to the strike. However, services at private sector banks have not impacted.
The unions have demanded the reversal of “anti-working class, anti-people and the anti-national policies” allegedly implemented by this government. The unions in the joint statement have also accused the labour ministry of doing little to assure the workers of their demand.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has supported the Bharat Bandh 2020 call given by a total of 10 biggest trade unions in the country against policies of the government. Rahul Gandhi slammed the Modi-Shah government for “anti-people, anti-labour policies”, which he says, have created “catastrophic unemployment and are weakening our PSUs to justify their sale to Modi’s crony capitalist friends”.
“Today, over 25 crore workers have called for Bharat Bandh 2020 in protest. I salute them,” he added.
In West Bengal, protesters have blocked railway track in Howrah to support the ten trade unions have called for Bharat Bandh. Similarly, protesters also blocked railway track in Kanchrapara, North 24 Parganas district.
Several parts of West Bengal saw protests and marches in support of the Bandh.
Siliguri: A North Bengal State Transport Corporation(NBSTC) bus driver wears a helmet in wake of protests during #BharatBandh called by ten trade unions against ‘anti-worker policies of Central Govt’ #WestBengal pic.twitter.com/ZCbe7uRq4m
— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
In Mumbai, the employees of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) protest against the Modi government’s decision of strategic disinvestment of Bharat Petroleum. The government has been planning to divest its 53 per cent stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) at the earliest to bridge the fiscal deficit and meet the disinvestment target.
Mumbai: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited employees protest against Govt decision of strategic disinvestment of Bharat Petroleum pic.twitter.com/njOzme48KC
— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
In Chennai, people gathered at Mount road to protest against the policies of the Narendra Modi government. Even Puducherry saw a shutdown in wake of Bharat Bandh. Transport services have been stopped and inter-state buses are hit. Markets remain closed in the Puducherry.
Few left-wing leaders have also been arrested in Andhra Pradesh. The protestors had tried to stop state-owned buses and blocked roads across Vijayawada, Guntur, Ongole, Visakhapatnam, Kadapa and among other towns. However, apart from a few instances, life seems to be normal in Hyderabad.
Maharashtra PWD Minister Ashok Chavan also stated that the state government supported today’s Bharat Bandh call of different trade unions.
Reportedly, nearly 2000 app-based cab drivers also participated in the national trade union strike at Hyderabad airport.
In Odisha, the ruling BJD had declared that it will not support the Bharat Bandh called by Congress and the left parties. Though government offices remain open, schools and colleges have been closed as a precaution. However, train services have been hit at several stations due to ongoing protests by Congress and leftist groups.
Apart from few states ruled by Opposition parties, the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by trade unions on Wednesday has received a lukewarm response in Lucknow as life was normal during morning hours. The usual traffic was seen on the main roads the state capital and shops and business establishments opened at their usual time. Most of the schools, colleges and other educational institutions, offices reported normal attendance.
In addition to UP, the nationwide strike has no effect on the normal life in the various cities in the Karnataka, with most of the vehicles including government buses providing service on Wednesday. As usual, train services remained unaffected.
Schools, colleges and business establishments have remained open. However, some miscreants had pelted a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation bus with stones in Madikeri town in Kodagu district this morning.