New Delhi: Banking and transport services remained crippled in many parts of the country following the 24-hour nationwide strike called by 11 major trade unions. The strike call was given to protest against rising prices, disinvestment of profit-making PSUs and the violation of labour laws.
West Bengal and Kerala were the worst hit. There were reports of a CPI(M) office in Kolkata being attacked allegedly by Trinamool Congress workers. The incident took place in south Kolkata's Jadavpur office.
In West Bengal, over 100 pro-strike supporters were arrested in different districts for obstructing rail and road traffic.
Shops, markets and business establishments were mostly closed in some areas, while state-run buses and trams plied with fewer passengers.
Attendance at the West Bengal state secretariat, Writers' Buildings, was at an 'unusual' 65 per cent in the wake of the warning to state government employees by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that absence from duty will be treated as break in service.
However, Mamata claimed that the bandh was a 'flop show'. "For the first time ever in the history of Bengal, the state government has managed to make the Opposition's bandh a flop show," Mamata said.
A TV journalist and a cameraperson were also reportedly heckled by agitators outside the Ganguly Bagan police station. They were apparently heckled for videographing the party workers. The policemen, meanwhile, didn't intervene.
Mamata, however, alleged that such incidents were staged by journalists.
Kerala, too, bore the brunt of the nationwide strike. The roads of capital Thiruvananthapuram wore a deserted look as buses and autos were not running.
The Congress-led UDF Government in the state has enforced 'no work-no pay' order in government offices.
Andhra Pradesh was also hit by the strike. Employees of various organisations and Left activists held rallies and other forms of protests across Andhra Pradesh as part of the nationwide strike against the anti-labour and anti-people policies of the Central Government.
CPI State Secretary K Narayana, who led the protest here charged that the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh imposed heavy burden on common people in various forms like hiking taxes and also VAT on traders.
Commuters in Delhi also complained that the frequency of state-run buses was low. A vast majority of the autos and taxis also stayed off the road.
Mumbai and Bangalore were among the least affected cities.
(With additional information from PTI)