Little response to NDA's Bharat Bandh in Mumbai

"Hundreds of BJP workers will accompany (Maharashtra's Deputy Leader of Opposition) Gopinath Munde and other leaders for a symbolic march to the Mantralaya (state secretariat) to protest against the price hike and FDI in retail," a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader told IANS.

However, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have softened their stand against FDI in retail stating that it might provide employment to local youth. Both parties had also cited the ongoing Ganesh festival as their main reason for not participating in the shutdown.

The BJP has also stated that it will not disrupt the immersion process of Lord Ganesh that is undertaken by many devotees on the second day of the festival.

The state government has also declared that local trains, city buses and other public means of transport including taxis and auto rickshaws will continue to function as usual.

Malls, supermarkets and all other services are also likely to functions as usual. However, the BJP is relying on the strong support of the trader community to ensure that its call for shutdown has definite impact.

Bandh poster, Mumbai mall
A Bharat Bandh banner outside a mall in Mumbai . Photo: Satyaji Desai

The Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM), an apex body of trade associations, which has over 750 trade, transport and small scale associations have shown strong support to the shutdown call.

"We have been spearheading the movement against FDI in retail for nearly 15 years now. The very idea of foreign retail giants is to grab a share of the growing Indian market and, in the process, throw out crores of small retailers," FAM president Mohan Gurnani told IANS.

"The central government's claims that the entry of these companies in Indian market will proved employment and help control inflation is based only on vague assumptions," he added.

The police is also adding to the existing security arrangements to tackle any untoward incident during the shutdown.

"We already have strong security arrangements in place owing to the Ganesh festival that takes place here on a large scale. However, we will be enhancing these, by adding more policemen and teams of other security agencies," Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sadanand Date told IANS. 

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