Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Citu to restrict strike to a day in West Bengal

In what will come as a big relief to the common people, the central trade unions’ scheduled two-day general strike on February 20-21 is likely to be reduced to a one-day affair in West Bengal. This was announced by Citu leader and CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member Shyamal Chakraborty on Tuesday.
“We are requesting the central leadership that in view of the International Bhasha Diwas, there should be relaxation on February 21. We should just observe an industrial strike on that day and not a general strike,” he added.
Mr Chakraborty also said that he had received a letter from Bhasha Shahid Smarak Committee requesting him to allow relaxation in the strike on February 21. This means that private and public transport will be kept out of the purview of the strike on February 21 and even educational institutions may remain open for the celebration of Bhasha Diwas. Political observers believe that barring industrial units, business establishments, markets, shops and offices will also remain open. In other words, it is likely to be business as usual on February 21 in Kolkata and West Bengal.
It was CPI(M) politburo member and former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who prevailed upon the central leadership to not impose a two-day general strike in the state.
In an interview to a local news channel, Mr Bhattacharjee said that there would be no general strike on February 21 in the state because of Bhasha Diwas. “We have urged the central trade union to reconsider its decision. On February 21, there should be no general strike in Bengal as we will be observing Bhasha Diwas on that day,” Mr Bhattacharjee added.
Although Bhasha Diwas is being cited as the ostensible reason for the relaxation in strike on the second day, the CPI(M) believes a two-day strike at this juncture would send a wrong message.
Mr Bhattacharjee who had been a strong opponent of bandhs while he was the chief minister, still feels the same way although his party is now in Opposition.
Mr Bhattacharjee who zealously embarked on an industrial overdrive in the state considered bandhs and blockades major impediments in the path of development. He had crossed swords with his own party colleagues by openly criticising the Left’s penchant for disruptive agitation, militant trade unionism and bandhs.
In August 2008, he had embarrassed his own party by telling a conference of industrialists that personally he did not support strikes. “Unfortunately, I belong to a political party that calls strikes,” he had added. The party satraps had immediately distanced themselves from his explosive statement by describing it as his personal opinion which did not reflect the party’s viewpoint.
Source : Asian Age

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