If the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claim of common people joining its nationwide public protest against inflation is to be believed, there’s clearly a national movement afoot to keep inflation in double digits. Monday’s bandh, called by several opposition parties (including the BJP and the Left Front) to protest the recent increase in fuel prices, partially disrupted public transport and other services. The upshot was a spike in the price of some commodities and possibly higher fuel bills as people tried to pick the safest rather than the shortest route to their destination.
Bandhs are not just a disruptive way to protest, they also deprive the urban poor of livelihood. Streets emptied of roadside vendors could only mean an increase in debt or deprivation. And every burnt bus singes government finances. But then, we have been given to understand it is consensual.