BJP's 12-hour statewide bandh fails in West Bengal


The 12-hour statewide bandh called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal failed to evoke any favourable response as the police warned of strong actions if the party tried to forcefully implement the strike. The bandh was called from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. after sporadic incidents, ranging from ransacking of vehicles and electronic voting machines (EVMs) to attack on policemen, marked the elections to 108 civic bodies in 20 districts on Sunday.

“The state government is opposed to strikes and bandhs as it disrupts normal life and causes inconvenience to people and affects their livelihood,” said a note issued by the Mamata Banerjee administration, making it mandatory for employees to attend office.

Police said that BJP workers tried to block the road in some places such as Cooch Behar and Howrah, while in Hooghly efforts were made to block trains since morning. The protestors were dispersed by the police. In Kolkata, some BJP workers were arrested when they tried block an important crossing in chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s constituency. Director General of Police (DGP) Manoj Malviya said on Sunday that the police will take strong action if the BJP used force to shut down any shop or establishment. “The government has said that all private and state institutions will remain open,” the DGP said.

“The elections were peacefully conducted. There was not a single incident that could cause concern. The chief minister told us that all people should cast their votes peacefully. There were some minor incidents and we took prompt action. We detained 51 people and made 790 preventive arrests during the day,” he said.

BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar had alleged that several of his party’s candidates and polling agents suffered injury in attacks carried out by “goons” backed by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). Similar complaints were raised even by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Meanwhile, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has asked state election commissioner Saurabh Das to brief him on the situation at 3:30 p.m. today.

Life in Kolkata today remained normal, with public vehicles including the Metro running normally, while the effect of the bandh could also not be seen in industrial areas such as Barrackpore in North 24 Parganas.

“The state government has decided that government and private establishments, schools and colleges, shops, markets, industrial establishments and transport, among others, will remain open and function normally. State government will take necessary measures to ensure there is no disruption,” the official order said.

The government has warned that if any employee chooses to remain absent it would be treated as ‘dies non’ and no salary would be admissible.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)