Kolkata/Sagar Islands: Hitting out at the Left and Congress, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that those who don't have any political existence in the state are trying to ruin its economy by pursuing “cheap politics” of strikes.
Banerjee said she extends her support to the cause of the strike, called by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) against the Centre's economic policies, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed nationwide NRC, but reiterated that her party and government is against any sort of shutdown.
“I support their issues, but I don’t support the way they tried to impose the bandh on others. This is ‘dadagiri’ and ‘gundagardi’ (hooliganism). It is unfortunate that in the name of bandh, common people in the state were harassed. The protesters assaulted daily commuters and prevented them from going ahead with their daily lives,” she added.
"We will not allow any strike in Bengal. Those who don't have any political existence in the state are trying to ruin its economy by pursuing cheap politics such as strikes. We will not let them impose strike in the state," she said at the Sagar Islands in South 24 Parganas district, while reviewing arrangements for the upcoming Gangasagar mela.
“The Left Front’s 34 years of rule simply finished Bengal. They were rejected by the people and now they want cheap publicity by breaking the law and order. I will not tolerate this. The CPI (M) with no ideology has reduced itself to a signboard,” she said, adding that instead of trying to gain publicity in this way, the front should wind up politically.
Comparing the CPI(M)'s West Bengal unit with its counterpart in Kerala where the party is in power, the Trinamool Congress supremo said there the Leftists do not resort to violence unlike their comrades in this state.
Her praise for the Kerala CPI(M) came days after she received a letter from her counterpart there Pinarai Vijayan urging her and 11 other non-BJP chief ministers to fight against the CAA or NRC.
She said the Congress and Left parties have not engaged in any mass movement against the CAA or NRC — neither in the state nor anywhere else in the country, and now they want to take a short cut by calling a strike, Banerjee said.
"They call strikes every year instead of organising people's movement. Despite being in power, we are brave enough to protest against the NRC and the CAA. We have condemned the violence inside JNU campus," Banerjee said.
"Strikes called by Left trade unions earlier were rejected by people. They want to get cheap publicity by calling bandhs and hurling bombs at buses," Banerjee said, Daring the CPI(M) to protest and engage in violence in other parts of the country, including the national capital, the TMC supremo claimed the Left party is jealous of the development programmes undertaken by her government since 2011.
She referred to an incident of bombs being found on railway tracks in North 24 Parganas district during the strike, and accused Left parties of engaging in hooliganism and violence.
“What kind of a strike is this? They hurled bombs at buses, planted bombs on railway tracks, damaging government and private properties. I strongly condemn this and have asked police take adequate action as per law against the perpetrators,” she said.
Incidents of violence and arson were reported from various parts of West Bengal with buses, vehicles and government properties being vandalised by groups of people who tried to enforce the 24-hour trade union strike on Wednesday.
More than 200 agitators were arrested during the day. In Malda’s Sujapur, violence erupted after a large number of alleged bandh supporters set several police vehicles on fire, attacked officers and blocked National Highway-34. Government buses and properties were also damaged.
Police officers resorted to baton-charging, firing teargas shells and rubber bullets after the agitators hurled stones and crude bombs at them. Both CPI (M) leader Ambar Mitra and Malda Congress president Mustaq Alam said none of their party workers were involved in the Sujapur incident.
(With inputs from PTI)