Expression of disenchantment
It may be tempting to attribute the widespread success of Thursday's all-India bandh to the growing clout of the Opposition that called for it. But that reading would be off by a long shot.
That the bandh, called to protest against the recent Rs7.50 petrol price hike, was near total in Bangalore, the capital of BJP-ruled Karnataka, will not come as a surprise. But its success in West Bengal, where the NDA has an insignificant presence, in Congress-ruled Assam and Rajasthan, and the near total shutdown of Mumbai — capital of a Congress-ruled state and a city that has recently displayed scant regard to bandh calls — makes it clear that its success was an expression of the people's deep sense of disenchantment with the Congres
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The petrol price hike was a cruel body blow to the common man, who, in times of galloping inflation, is already battling multiple shocks like the rapid rise in the prices of essential commodities and the economic slowdown that has affected job security.
Today's bad news that India's economic growth touched a nine-year low of 5.3% in the last quarter and of the steadily falling rupee couldn't come at a worse time. The proposed Rs1.50-Rs2 cut in petrol price will do little to offset the sense of helplessness that has engulfed the person on the street. If the UPA wants to regain the faith of the people before the 2014 polls, it needs to conduct heart replacement surgery. Band-Aid just won't do.
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