Left-called strike affects rail-road traffic in Bihar

Patna, Nov 28 (IANS) A strike call given by the Left parties and others on Monday to protest against the demonetisation decision of the Narendra Modi government evoked a mixed response in Bihar.

Although normal life was hit in some rural areas, urban areas in the state remained largely unaffected. Movement of trains was disrupted at some places.

Road traffic was affected in Bihar during the nation-wide 12-hour strike that started early on Monday morning, a senior police official said.

Hundreds of protestors were taken into custody across the state for disrupting rail and road traffic.

In Samastipur and Saharsa districts, those for and against demonetisation clashed, but timely intervention of police brought the situation under control.

During the ongoing winter session of the Bihar assembly, the BJP legislators on Monday called Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ‘dalals’ of black money.

They claimed that people are with Modi’s decision of demonetisation, but the Congress, RJD and Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party have been opposing it because of their vested interests.

According to police officials, several trains were halted, and national highways and state highways were blocked.

The supporters and workers of the Left parties, including the CPI, CPI-M, CPI(ML) and other parties, stopped over a dozen long-route trains at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur stations.

However, the major constituents of the ruling grand alliance in Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, decided not to join the shutdown, but to stage protest march against demonetisation.

The Janata Dal-United of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar keep itself away from both shutdown and protest against demonetisation.

In fact, Nitish Kumar has repeatedly voiced his support for the demonetisation move publicly, which prompted BJP President Amit Shah and Lok Janshakti Party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to thank him for his stand.

“The state administration has made elaborate security arrangements in view of the shutdown,” said a senior government official.

The Left parties enjoy a strong support base in over a dozen districts in Bihar.

Police officials claimed that the strike was by and large peaceful, barring some stray incidents of violence.