The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul bent on paralysing state
- Mamata to lead pro-bandh campaign

Calcutta, Nov. 28: Forty-eight hours before the high court resumes hearing on a petition opposing Mamata Banerjee's December 3 bandh, her party lined up programmes with its leader to the fore to garner support for the shutdown.

Trinamul Congress president Subrata Bakshi unveiled plans to mobilise support for the 12-hour strike with Mamata at the helm. 'There is no question of calling off the bandh,' Bakshi said. 'We have not received any summons to present ourselves before the court and explain our stand.'

Attempts to obtain Mamata's comments proved futile.

Advocate Idris Ali, who had moved the public interest litigation against the bandh on behalf of the All India Minority Forum, today reiterated that he had sent notices to Trinamul's Topsia office and Mamata's Kalighat residence as directed by the court, but Trinamul leaders denied having received them.

'I am not aware of any high court summons served on us in a bandh-related case. The question of participating in the case does not arise,' Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy said, adding: 'Our main concern now is to ensure a successful bandh.'

Mamata, Roy said, will address two rallies at Palbazar and Garia tomorrow in support of the bandh. The next day, she will address rallies at Burrabazar and Shyambazar in north Calcutta. A day before the bandh, Mamata will speak near Sealdah station and at Hazra More.

Asked what the party will do if the CPM deploys its cadre to scuttle the strike, Roy said: 'The administration will be held responsible for any untoward incident. Attempts to force open shops and ply vehicles will be opposed.'

However, Trinamul sources quoted Mamata as saying that the party would not enter into any confrontation with anti-bandh activists. 'We shall rather leave it to the people to make the bandh a success. Our supporters should not be provoked by CPM cadre, who will be on the streets to create disturbance,' Mamata is learnt to have told party functionaries at a meeting today.

A section of Trinamul is unsure about the bandh's relevance after the Centre lowered the price of petrol and rolled back the decision to hike LPG price by Rs 5 every month.

A senior Trinamul leader said: 'I don't feel that a bandh is necessary to pressure the Congress-led government. Instead, we should explore possibilities of improving our relations with the party, particularly when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in the city on December 18.'

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