Kolkata, Feb 19: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced in an animated manner that her state would not remain shut by the two-day strike and said if the bandh supporters tried to force themselves on the people, her government would take strong action against the offenders.
She has appealed to people to attend work like in a normal day and that she will guard against the strike. "Ami paharadar," she said. Government employees have been informed that no leave will be sanctioned for the strike. If anybody misses the duty hours and fails to show a valid reason for the absence, action will be taken against him. The CM also said that the government will compensate for the damage caused.
Banerjee's government took a similar stand during the last few occasions of strike. She had announced proudly afterwards that the work culture of the state had improved significantly. However, one report said there were people in Kolkata who bought lobsters two weeks ahead of the strike so that they could have a gala luncheon and afternoon nap on the bandh day. Great improvement in work culture indeed!
Anti-strike stand a show of desperation?
According to political observers, Banerjee's anti-strike stunt is a ploy to establish an industry-friendly image. Almost two years have gone and yet her government has not succeeded in establishing a single industry in the state. On the other hand, the strikes give her an opportunity to exercise the only political philosophy that she has, which is Left bashing.
Administration doesn't back words with action promptly
Mamata Banerjee's hollow warnings against strike also get exposed when her administration doesn't back the words with action. On Monday, the state's chief secretary said that the government will campaign on the streets by stressing the high court's negative verdict on strikes. But the notification took so long to be issued that administrative sources said it will be impossible to carry out the campaign in the districts. This is the work culture of Banerjee's government. "If the police commissioner can be removed in a flash, then why can't an important notice be issued quickly?," asked an officer.
Mamata's pampering & warning confuse people
Banerjee's tirade against strike looks all the more ineffective when one sees the same leader announcing holidays in the state at every turn of events. She is pampering a culture of non-productivity and at the same time criticising the Left for bandh. Her leadership is leaving the people of West Bengal confused.
Is Mamata Banerjee, who herself was once infamous for calling frequent bandhs, among those leaders in India who have learnt to use strike as a political weapon in a new way?