A Congress activist in Odisha adopted a unique way of protesting against sky-rocketing fuel prices by dressing like Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He sat on a bullock cart and went around asking people whether petrol prices have come down or not.
Normal life was completely affected across Odisha today due to a six-hour bandh called by the Congress in protest against fuel price rise in Umerkote town in Nabarangpur district
Loudspeakers in the Congress rally blared the recorded question from an old speech of Modi and the man with white hair and beard enacted it by lip-syncing along with hand gestures.
This unique way of protest amused residents of places through which the rally traversed.
The district witnessed a complete bandh as a large number of Congress workers led by former parliamentarian Pradip Majhi blocked roads.
All shops, schools and colleges were shut and vehicles remained off the roads in the district.
Congress activists blocked national highways in various parts of the state, including in the capital Bhubaneswar, leading to huge traffic jams.
Congress members led by MLA Suresh Routray staged a 'rail roko' at Bhubaneswar railway station.
Air and bus travellers also faced a tough time in reaching their destinations due to the unavailability of public transport.
Travellers suffered at bus terminuses as the All Odisha Bus Owners' Association suspended passenger bus services across the state during the bandh hours.
As many as 25 platoons of police personnel were deployed in the state capital to prevent any untoward incident.
"The bandh has been completely peaceful due to massive support from the people," Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee chief Niranjan Patnaik said.
He said that emergency services, including ambulance, milk vans and vehicles of media and examinees were exempted from the purview of the bandh.
"The bandh was called to mount pressure on both the state and central governments to reduce tax on petroleum products which will help in lowering the prices of petrol and diesel," he said.
With vehicles remaining off the roads, many government employees pedalled to their offices across the state including Bhubaneswar.
The main gates of state secretariat Lok Seva Bhavan were closed at 10.15 am to prevent agitators from entering the premises while employees used side gates for entry and exit, a police officer said.
Congress workers offered chocolates to people venturing on the streets of Cuttack on their private vehicles during the bandh hours.
Meanwhile, a litre of petrol costs Rs 89.69 in Bhubaneswar and a litre of diesel costs Rs 86.47.
With PTI Inputs