Called by all major opposition parties, India went to a strike on July 5th 2010. Quite naturally, India decided to remain indoors with schools, colleges and offices either remaining closed or seeing low occupancy.
The Congress led Govt has been increasing prices arbitrarily ever since returning to power for a second term. India has a divided opposition, who are concerned mostly with keeping their local vote banks intact, than caring about the welfare of the Indian public as a whole. With an absolute majority at the center and a divided opposition, Congress knows it can take whatever decision it wants to and still no one can harm it till the next 2014 Lok Sabha elections. One can be rest assured that by 2013, Congress will start to come up with populist measures and also control prices, so that as usual, just before the elections, people will have a feel good factor for the Congress.
Few weeks back, Congress decided to increase fuel prices by a good margin. Across India, the petrol price crossed the Rs. 50 barrier. Increase in fuel and LPG prices led to the subsequent increase in vegetable and other essential commodity prices. This was when all major political parties decided to bury the hatchet and raise a voice against the Congress together. July 5th was chosen as the D-Day to do a nationwide strike. BJP and its allies from NDA as well as CPI supported the strike. This was one of the biggest strikes called in recent history, probably the biggest after the 1990’s Mandal movement strikes.
The bandh effects started to be felt from 6 am on 5th July. Road transport and taxi services were badly affected. Auto and taxi unions decided to stay off the road in case some sporadic violence harmed their vehicles. In several states, the nationwide strike affected Indian Railways as well. Several trains in Bihar and Jharkhand were cancelled and Mumbai local trains were delayed by agitating workers. Commuters were seen stranded at bus stations or on roads waiting for a sign of non-existent taxis. People decided to remain indoor and the general sentiment was that the common man was supporting the strike against price rise. All in all, it can be said that the opposition parties were successful in paralyzing the normal life for the day.
Although the bandh had the support of people to an extent, it’d be not wrong to suggest that it was not a successful strike. The strike was called to oppose the price rise and bad decisions of Congress led Central Govt. However, during the entire day, Congress seemed carefree of the strike and took no notice of it. They have repeatedly also suggested that there is no question of rollback in fuel prices. So, if the band was called to oppose the price rise and the opposition can not make Congress to roll back the price rise factors, then obviously they can not call it a successful strike.