The Bharat Bandh called by the Congress and other opposition parties opened gates for a political slugfest over reports of the death of a two-year-old child in Bihar, allegedly due to the nationwide shutdown being observed on account of the rising fuel prices.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad held the Congress responsible for the death of the child, claiming that the ambulance carrying the child was stuck in traffic, ultimately leading to the minor's death.
"It is the essence of democracy that hospitals, ambulances and medicine shops are allowed to function without any hindrance. But, with the death of the two-year-old in Bihar today, an environment of fear is being created," he said.
However, Jehanabad Sub-divisional Officer Paritosh Kumar, while speaking to ANI, rubbished reports of the death, and said, "The death of the child is not related to bandh or traffic jam, the relatives had left late from their home (for hospital)."
Hitting back at the allegations of the BJP, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav said that the BJP is making baseless allegations to defame the strike. "Some agents of the BJP, like Pappu Yadav, have hijacked our strike, and are trying to give a bad name to the protest. We never want any harm to the common man," he added.
As a nationwide strike is being observed, fuel prices continued to surge on Monday with petrol and diesel being sold at Rs 80.73 and Rs 72.83 per litre, respectively, in the national capital, while petrol and diesel are being sold at Rs 88.12 and Rs 77.32 per litre, respectively, in Mumbai.
Earlier in the day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a rally from Rajghat to the Ramlila Maidan, where a meeting was held on account of the Bharat Bandh.