PATNA: Even as RJD, the main ally in Bihar’s Nitish Kumar-led government, took out marches across the state along with ally Congress and the Opposition CPI(ML) to protest demonetisation on Monday, senior RJD leaders were conspicuous by their absence.
Activists of CPI(ML) and student and farmers wings of the Left parties enforced the bandh in many district headquarters and smaller towns, forcing at least a dozen trains to stop on the tracks.
Normal public life was, however, affected only marginally during the day as shops, offices and road transport continued largely unhindered despite efforts to enforce the shutdown.
Neither RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav nor the party’s state president Ramchandra Purve was seen in any protest march.
Other senior leaders of the party were also missing. RJD activists took out protest marches in almost every district headquarters town. Deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav said the party was not supporting the Bharat Bandh and was only taking out ‘akrosh (anger) marches’.
Workers of Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) of Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav alias Rajesh Ranjan and those of CPI(ML) forcibly stopped Lokmanya Tilak Express in Ara.
The Patna-Gaya national highway was blocked and Patna-Ranchi Jan Shatabdi Express was forcibly halted at Jehanabad by CPI(ML) workers.
The Howrah-Gaya Express train was stoned at Nawada. A minor clash was reported at Samastipur between some college students and workers of Congress and RJD during the latter’s protest marches.
JD(U), the main ruling party, kept itself away from any protest movement over demonetisation in the state. Senior Congress leader and former state president of the state unit Anil Sharma said: “We are not bothered about what JD(U) is doing. We are concerned about the problems faced by millions of people across the country, and we are voicing their issues”.
In both houses of the state legislature, lawmakers of ruling allies RJD and Congress along with those of the Opposition CPI(ML) shouted slogans against the way demonetisation was being implemented across the country. In return, BJP legislators also held up pro-demonetisation placards and shouted slogans.
Former Chief Minister and RJd leader Rabri Devi, the wife of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, chanted slogans against demonetisation in the Legislative Council.