New Delhi. Even as Bharat Bandh called by a surprisingly united opposition led by the Left parties and the BJP demanding a roll back on the fuel price hike proved to be successful in stopping trains and canceling flights, this also led to major criticism from some quarters calling it a destructive and backward way of protest. But CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has dismissed such criticisms.
“Tell me what is Earth Hour? Due to the problem of climate change, it is an event which raises awareness and also saves energy. Now although we have called the strike due to another reason, the consequences will be similar to Earth Hour, don’t you think? I think it’s even better because observing Earth Hour is voluntary, this is not. Can you imagine the amount of fuel that will be saved as people will be locked up in homes all day.” he argued.
Fellow comrade A B Bardhan too echoed Karat’s comments. He said, “Earlier, people across the country used to dismiss bandhs as something of a quarterly Bengali festival. But it’s very good to see parties from all over India finally joining hands in calling a bandh. We save a ridiculous amount of petrol and diesel. And minimal pollution throughout the day.”
He went a step further by revealing plans to take this onto the international stage, “The main focus in the next politburo meeting would be to study the Earth Hour model properly. It started in Sydney and now is a global event. Similarly, I think the idea of general hartaals and bandhs can be one of India’s most significant gifts to the world after Zero and IPL.”
Trusted sources inform Faking News that recruitment is on for a special team comprising of young tech savvy individuals to promote such hartaals innovatively and aggressively market them. The plan also includes use of social networking sites to spread the word further. The campaign started on a positive note with “Bharat Bandh” trending on twitter worldwide earlier today.
Meanwhile, the mood in the streets is pretty cheerful. For kids in Kerala and West Bengal whom we interviewed, they said they were used to it. But for many others, this was a welcome change. An 18-year-old boy from Mumbai Rahul Pawar said, “This is awesome! Getting an unexpected holiday that has nothing to do with rains!”
In an unrelated development, some Bandh supporters were seen raising slogans against BJP near Rajiv Chowk in New Delhi, allegedly after they were denied free burgers that they were earlier promised. BJP refused to comment over the development but termed the Bandh successful.