Bharat Bandh: 5 Key Takeaways from Opposition’s Show of Strength

Opposition parties on Monday called for Bharat bandh to protest against the rising fuel prices in the country.

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In a show of strength, the Opposition on Monday, 10 September, called for a Bharat bandh to protest the rising fuel prices in the country. Led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi, protesters from the Congress and other parties took to the streets, with protests turning violent in some cities.

While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party slammed the Opposition for disrupting law and order across the country, here are five key takeaways from the Opposition’s show of unity during the bandh.

  1. Unity in Diversity on display: The bandh called by the Congress saw a spate of major Opposition parties extending support, including the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal Secular or JD(S), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) among others. According to the Congress, 21 Opposition parties extended their support to the bandh.
  2. SP, BSP missing: Two key allies of the Congress from one of the most electorally important states – Uttar Pradesh – were a no-show during the rally in the national capital.
  3. Acing the optics game: An interesting choice of venue, the protests began with senior Congress leaders first visiting the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat. The leaders then marched to a nearby petrol pump where the stage was set for top party leaders to address the gathering.
  4. Opposition keeps the churn on: With little over half a year left before the 2019 general elections, the Opposition managed a considerable and remarkable display of unity. The Opposition upped the ante just a day after PM Modi slammed it for not having any strategy.
  5. Same issues, different Opposition: Congress raising fuel price hike as a major issue, akin to the BJP's tirade against price rise and fuel price hikes in 2013 raises questions. However, the current Opposition claims to be on a stronger wicket, because unlike last time around, the Modi government reportedly had much more favourable global oil prices for a significant duration of its tenure.

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