Thursday bandh won't be total, thanks to Ganeshotsav

If you thought the two saffron parties in the state — the BJP and the Shiv Sena — would be playing spoilsport during Ganeshotsav by strictly enforcing the bandh called on Thursday, then you have reason to cast aside your worries.

Both parties have decided that while they will observe the bandh, they will not force anyone to do the same.

The NDA, the opposition alliance of which the BJP and the Shiv Sena are major constituents, has called the bandh on September 20, which falls on the day after Ganesh Chaturthi on Wednesday, against the government announcement of FDI in retail and aviation as well as the recent price rise in petroleum products.

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray yesterday said the bandh would not be observed in the “Sena style” keeping in mind the sentiments of the people.

“On moral grounds, we support the bandh, but as it is Ganesh Chaturthi, we can’t let the happiness of the common man suffer,” he said. “So while we support the bandh, it won’t be enforced in the Sena style.”

Uddhav said he had spoken to the BJP state president on the issue and that the decision to refrain from interfering with the festival was mutual.
BJP state chief Sudhir Mungantiwar confirmed that both the saffron parties would not stop any public transport service from plying, but will help the common man on the streets instead.

“We held a meeting on Saturday night, where it was decided that we will not stop public services,” he said. “Instead, we will request the public to proactively support the bandh. The traders and the shopkeepers, who will be the worst affected by the FDI decision, will lend their support to the bandh and pull down shutters.” Thackeray was prompt to clarify that his party supported the bandh and that there was no difference of opinion in the NDA.

“The NDA stands together and even the decision of the bandh was unanimously taken, but our decision on how to go about the bandh has been taken seeing the current circumstances,” he said.

Mungantiwar said the decision to not actively participate in the bandh had been passed on to the party high command. He said permission had been taken from both party chief Nitin Gadkari and senior leader Gopinath Munde.

“On the 20th (of September), it will be the second day of the festival and many people will be taking their idols for immersion, so we decided that people should not be troubled in any way,” Mungantiwar said. 

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