The dawn-to-dusk bandh called in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry by the Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam-led Democratic Progressive Alliance to protest the Supreme Court's stay on the quota for OBCs in higher educational institutions threw life out of gear and brought public transport to standstill.
Movement of trains came to a grinding halt during the bandh as Southern Railways had either cancelled or rescheduled trains arriving and departing from Tamil Nadu, while buses, taxis and autorickshaws stayed off the roads.
The Tamil Nadu government had declared a holiday on Saturday under the Negotiable Instruments Act. Essential services like power, water and milk supply, telecommunications, hospitals, banks and media had been exempted from the purview of the bandh. The 12-hour bandh was total and incident free, official sources in Chennai said.
Indian had cancelled all its flights from and to Chennai during the Bandh hours. However, private airliners operated a few flights.
All liquor shops, godowns storing explosives and cinema halls remained closed through out the state. However, the state was limping back to normalcy as train and bus services resumed after 6 pm.
Saturday's bandh echoed the acrimonious politics prevailing in Tamil Nadu with the ruling DMK and opposition AIADMK not seeing eye to eye even on common issues.
While All India Anna Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam chief Jayalalithaa said no useful purpose would be solved through the bandh and described it as 'eyewash,' Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said the bandh symbolised the "teardrops of the oppressed classes," who had been deprived of their right for reservation.
Karunanidhi thanked everyone for making the bandh "total and successful."
The bandh saw almost all the corporate houses and industries being shut down in Chennai.
Most of IT companies did not function. While some of them said they did work, others pointed out that they had a five-day week generally and that the bandh did not in anyway affected their business.
Shashidar Rao, President of the Ambattur Industrial Estate told PTI that most of the units in the estate declared a holiday and would compensate it by working on Sunday.
Operations at the Chennai port were on as usual and there was no problem with cargo handling, K Suresh, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, said.
Meanwhile, a Puducherry report said buses, autos and other modes of public transport went off the roads and shops and business establishments remained closed during the bandh called by constituents of the DPA, including ruling Congress.
However, government offices functioned as most of the employees turned up for duty on two-wheelers.
Police were deployed at all vantage points.
PMK legislator P K R Anandaraman was held along with his supporters in Ariyankuppam when they allegedly tried to close some shops forcibly, police said.
The Mahavir Jayanthi celebrations in Puducherry were postponed to tomorrow due to the bandh, official sources said.
Later, a meeting of leaders of political parties affiliated to the DPA asked the Puducherry government to adopt an unanimous resolution in the current assembly session to persuade the Centre to bring in necessary steps to ensure reservation for OBCs in higher educational institutions.