Traders in Madhya Pradesh responded with mixed reactions to the half-day bandh staged by the Congress on Saturday in order to oppose the spiralling fuel prices.
Around 100 Congress workers led by former minister PC Sharma were detained by police in Bhopal as they tried to shut down shops forcefully. They were released later in evening. Workers of the party also forced several petrol pump owners to close their outlets, but police intervened to ensure that the establishments remain open.
Congressmen played cricket at Regal square to support the bandh. Some also dragged a bike while wearing facial masks depicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protest rise in petrol prices. Party workers entered into arguments with traders in several parts of the city, urging them to close shops.
Cloth merchant Yogesh Bhatia who runs a shop in the Ranjhi area of Jabalpur complained that Congress workers beat him up after he denied their request to shut shops in support of the bandh. Bhatia filed a complaint at the Ranjhi police station against Congress leader Ramdas Yadav and others in the matter.
At one place in Ujjain, Congress workers forcibly closed shops. One shopkeeper obliged only when the workers gave him Rs 1,000 to pull down shutters. There were similar mixed reactions for the bandh in cities like Gwalior and Sagar as well.
Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Kamal Nath extended gratitude towards the public for making the bandh successful.
Meanwhile, Medical Education minister Vishwas Sarang claimed that the bandh was a failure and accused small-time leaders of the Congress of indulging in hooliganism. “Why don’t they organise similar protests in states like Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra,” he asked.