Mumbai: Monday’s Bharat Bandh was successful in terms of politics as almost all opposition parties joined hands for the protest. Congress had given call and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Peasant and Workers Party (PWP), Raju Shetti, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communists; Aam Aadmi Party (AAM) also joined the agitation across the state. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) joining the ranks gave boost to Congress in Mumbai and suburban area. “Our efforts to bring all non-BJP parties together are on. We are working on it,” said Ashok Chavan, state Congress president.
On national level, 21 prominent regional parties had supported it. In Maharashtra, Congress was successful to get politically important parties on board. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) participated actively in Bandh.
In Mumbai, Congress was relieved to know the active support of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on ground. MNS workers were aggressive in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Bhiwandi, Kalyan - Dombivali and Ulhasnagar and Badlapur area. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was greeted with black flags by MNS workers. This boosted Congress’s confidence and give chance to party to taunt sulking Shiv Sena. “Shops at Shiv Sena Bhavan were also closed. So, Sena must know that Congress can also stop Mumbai,” taunted Sanjay Nirupam, Mumbai Congress chief.
Around 9 am, Mr Chavan, Mr Nirupam, former ministers Manikrao Thakare, Suresh Shetty and others reached Andheri railway station and tried to stop the trains but as police were trying to force them back, Congress leaders jumped on the track. Police detained them and took them to D.N. Nagar police station.
Congress has already made it clear that it won’t have an alliance with Raj Thackeray led MNS. But, MNS getting strong support in Mumbai would weaken Sena and ultimately help Congress. Also, other parties joining hands with Congress will give party a ray of hope to take on mighty BJP in general elections. “We are trying to form an alliance of like-minded parties. There are around 10 to 11 such parties. People want to dethrone the BJP. All we need to do is stand united,” indicated Mr Chavan.