Jaipur, Sep 20 (IANS) The nationwide shutdown called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and other parties witnessed widespread response in Rajasthan Thursday with traders associations extending support to it.
Markets, schools, petrol pumps and other establishments were closed and city transport services remained off the roads since morning in the state capital.
A huge crowd of traders, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and various labour unions held a demonstration at the Bari Chopar market around 10 a.m.
"We are taking out a procession throughout the walled city and requesting everyone to join the protest against the anti-people policies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government," said city BJP president Shailendra Bhargawa.
He added that about 150 groups of BJP workers have been asked to take out rallies in their respective areas.
A traders' association representative told IANS: "Jewellers as well as wholesalers and retailers kept their commercial establishments closed against the proposed foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail sector."
Suresh Agrawal, representative of the Federation of Rajasthan Trade and Industry said they have extended support to the shutdown.
"Our members have gathered at Bari Chopar to protest," said Agrawal.
The city transport came to a standstill as unions of private city bus operators and a section of the auto-rickshaw union supported the shutdown.
Most of the prominent private schools remained closed in the city. However, those which opened in the morning later declared a holiday owing to low turnout of students.
Police were put on high alert and about 3,000 policemen were deployed across the city to maintain law and order.
The impact of the shutdown was also seen in Udaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Jodhpur, Bikaner and other major cities in the state.
In Udaipur, the workers of Left parties squatted on the railway tracks and stopped the Ajmer-Udaipur Express train Thurday morning.
Workers barged into the local municipality office in Udaipur and damaged property.
"We have made elaborate security arrangements in cities and district headquarters across the state and deployed adequate forces to maintain vigil and prevent any untoward incident," said a senior police officer here.
The day-long shutdown has been called to protest against the recent hike in diesel price, cap on supply of subsidised cooking gas cylinders and allowing FDI in multi-brand retail sector by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.