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Politicians fight over bill for BEST buses damaged during 'Bharat Bandh'

Twelve days after political parties went on a 'Bharat Bandh', in which 156 buses Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses were damaged, there dispute brewing among the BEST committee members over who pays the compensation bills.

The May 31 bandh protesting the petrol price hike is believed to have cost BEST Rs 2.72 lakh in damages and another Rs 1.5 crore in revenue losses. But there is no consensus among the BEST committee members on who pays for the compensation bills with members of the different political parties blaming each other for the violence.


BEST buses were targeted throughout the city during the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the NDA to protest the recent petrol price hike. File Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

According to the Congress members of the BEST committee, the blame for the violence squarely lay on the shoulders of the NDA alliance. “There was no need for violence while observing a bandh by the NDA alliance. The BEST buses too incurred losses,” said Ravi Raja, BEST committee member from Congress.

However, Samajwadi Party Yakub Memon blamed the Congress for the mess. “If the Congress-led government at the Centre hadn’t increased petrol prices by Rs 7.50 then this bandh wouldn’t have happened. They are the ones from whom losses should be recovered,” said Memon.

Dilip Patel from BJP defended the NDA alliance and claimed that Congress supporters could have been the ones indulging in violence. “What proof do you have that only NDA-led parties are responsible? There is every chance that Congress supporters would have been party to this violence,” said Patel.

The Shiv Sena members too blamed Congress for the violence. “Who is responsible, not we. The Congress hiked petrol prices and so this violent bandh took place,” said Suhas Samant of Shiv Sena.

The High Court has declared bandhs as illegal and unconstitutional.

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