The Telegraph
Sunday , February 3 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Mamata call to foil strike

Dadpur (Hooghly), Feb. 2: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today urged people to keep offices running and shops open during the 48-hour general strike from February 20.

Stressing that the government would not allow bandhs, Mamata said at a programme in Hooghly’s Dadpur: “They have to call bandhs twice a year. Quota achhe (there is a quota). Why should there be a strike? For politics? We will not allow any bandhs.”

“Shopkeepers will keep their shops open, farmers will work in their fields. Don’t listen to anybody who asks you to join the strike. Administration will do its job, we will do ours,” she added.

Mamata has shunned strikes since her political fortunes soared following the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

The shutdown has been called by 11 central trade unions, including Citu, and the Left Front has extended support.

Many in Trinamul feel Mamata’s tough stand on the strike was intended at adding to the discomfort of the CPM, which is in a dilemma over the shutdown.

“The CPM will try to revitalise its cadres before the panchayat polls by backing the strike. But we will mobilise public opinion against it,” a Trinamul vice-president said.

A section in the CPM feels extending support to the strike will not go down well with voters. “It appears that our decision to back the two-day shutdown has come in handy for Trinamul to show us in a poor light,” a CPM leader said.

At the event, Mamata said she opposed central policies like the hike in fuel prices and withdrawal of subsidy on domestic LPG cylinders. But she added that a shutdown was not the way to protest the issues.

“Bandh kore ki chan, Banglar maayer hritpinda ta bandha hoye jaak (do you want to stop the heartbeat of Bengal by calling a shutdown in the state)?” she asked.