They are protesting against the rise in fuel prices, and news reports trickling in mention violent incidents where buses and trains were targeted and flights disrupted.
The Communist parties joined the NDA in this honourable voice of the common man. The Left leaders courted arrest. This is not the sort of arrest that the common man has to endure when s/he is picked up for suspected crimes or, even when it is for crimes, they rarely have any recourse to justice. The politicians will sit it out, chat, get cups of chai and be released to loud cheers from the party cadre.
I support dissent in principle, of principles. This is hypocrisy because no government in any part of the country, ruled by any political party has been able to control price rise. Price rise depends on several factors. There is a chain of politician-bureaucracy-industry at work. This percolates to the middle sector of retail – in this instance, pliers of public transport. The end result is the citizen having to shell out more. What is never kept in check is how citizens are fleeced even when there is no price rise. Cabbies and autorickshaws do that on a fairly regular basis. Consumer courts work with the enthusiasm of red-tapists.
The bandh has been declared an “unprecedented success”. Arun Jaitley said:
"This protest has been widely supported by the average common man because he is really the target of the government's policies.”
Widely-supported? Who is burning the buses and creating mayhem? Who forces shops to down shutters? Who asks vehicles to stay off the roads? Who creates a fear psychosis among people?
Jaitley’s average common man is indeed concerned about rise in fuel and other prices, but does not protest against it in this manner and not against it as ‘government policy’, but as unfair price rise which will affect them.
Tomorrow they will be back at work, paying the price they are expected to for using transport to get to work that brings them their salaries and gives them a livelihood. They will not be pontificating about government policies and neither will these opposition politicians who will be zipping past the roads of the capital in their fancy wheels.