A divided Opposition holds Jan Aakrosh Diwas, Bharat Bandh

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The Opposition parties protest against demonetisation before Parliament on November 26
The Opposition parties protest against demonetisation before Parliament on November 26

A divided Opposition protesting against demonetisation move, announced by the Centre on November 8,  seems to have brought the seriousness of the issue by many degrees.

The Left Front on November 26 called for a 12-hour Bharat Bandh opposing the demonetisation move announced by the Centre on November 8.

Parties such as Congress, Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have informed that they would not take part in the bandh, especially in view of the costs involved, but continue protesting against demonetisation in Parliament.

Opposition parties, led by the Congress, is organising ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ on November 26 to protest against the Centre’s demonetisation move.

While this was so, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad denied any opposition party had called for the Bharat Bandh. Holding the BJP responsible, he said since it has the largest amount of black money, the BJP should think over before pointing fingers at others.

Pooh-poohing the protests, the Centre was of the view that the Opposition should direct its anger (aakrosh) against black money, but it’s a pity that it was doing just the opposite.

At the same time, the Janata Dal (United) has, however, decided not to participate in the protests by the Opposition parties and the TMC chief’s proposed dharna in Patna on November 30 after JD (U) supremo and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar welcomed the demonetisation move. Even though Kumar had extended full support to the demonetisation move, the Left Front stopped more than 12 long distance trains at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur railway stations. Trains on Gaya-Patna section were also stopped—the Ganga Damodar Express and the Hatia-Patna Express did not move from Gaya railway station for more than four hours.

While the Left parties hoped the bandh would do well in the states where they have a presence, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has opposed the bandh call. She will go ahead with her rally against demonetisation as planned. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief had issued a diktat to government employees to attend office. Later ,a protest rally against demonetisation, led by Banerjee, started from College Square in Bengal. Film, sports and other personalities were also seen in the rally.

However, normal life was hit in the Left-ruled Kerala. Normalcy in movement of vehicles was also hit hard. Schools and colleges were closed for the day, while shops and offices, both government and private, remained closed.

Similarly, many of the non-BJP governed states have called for protests, while Opposition parties have chosen to oppose the bandh. They have made it clear that they won’t support the bandh, instead hold protests against demonetisation.