New Delhi, Sep 10: The Congress party on Monday claimed that the Bharat Bandh called by it to protest against the spiralling fuel prices was a "successful" across the country. The BJP, however, said the Bharat Bandh was not successful and condemned the violence reported in several states during the shutdown.
"Today's Bharat Bandh has been successful across the country. Congress party has never held Bharat Bandh before, we don't even believe in Bharat Bandh, but since the time Modi govt has come there has been a situation that led to this," senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said at a media briefing.
"People willingly participated in Bharat Bandh against the government and taught them a lesson. At least now, govt should reduce prices and mend its way. But they are not worried at all. So, we all need to save democracy. It is in danger," he added.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala earlier said the Centre can not hide behind the excuse of "global reasons" for the high prices as it had increased taxes substantially in the last few years. He also thanked the 20 other opposition parties for joining the nationwide strike.
The BJP on Monday defended the rise in oil prices, attributing it to global factors, and accused the Congress and other opposition parties of resorting to violence during the 'Bharat Bandh' as people did not support their call.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad acknowledged that the people were facing "momentary difficulty" due to increasing petrol and diesel prices and said they understand that this was due to factors beyond the control of the central government. Noting that oil prices had gone down after the Bharatiya Janata Party government came to power in May 2014, before they went up, he said it is a problem whose solution is not in its hands.
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Prasad said the NDA government has brought down the inflation rate to 4.7 per cent from the 10.4 per cent it was during the UPA. He also challenged Manmohan Singh, who was prime minister between 2004 and 2014, for a debate on the country's economy in Parliament. Responding to Singh's criticism of the government's economic policies, he said the Congress leader should leave the job of making stray remarks to Gandhi and engage in a constructive debate with him.