Protesters outside the University of Calcutta. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday slammed the Left Front and the Congress for violence and vandalism during Bharat Bandh in the state, saying those who don’t have any political existence in the state are trying to ruin its economy by resorting to “cheap publicity” of bandh.
Mamata said that while she supports the cause of the bandh, which has been called against the Centre’s economic policies, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed nationwide NRC, her party and government are against any sort of shutdown and violence.
“In the name of protests, commuters are being beaten up, stones are being pelted. This is ‘dadagiri’, not a protest. I condemn this... Bandhs called by them (Left and Congress) were earlier rejected... They want to get cheap publicity by calling bandhs, hurling bombs at buses,” she said, adding, “instead of gaining publicity in this way, they should wind up politically”.
The Chief Minister was speaking to mediapersons after returning from Gangasagar where she had gone to review the arrangement for the Gangasagar Mela.
Accusing the CPM of fomenting violence during the bandh in the state, Mamata said: “CPM has no ideology. Keeping bombs on railway tracks is hooliganism. I have no word to condemn this act... The party has become a signboard as they are continuing with hooliganism and resorting to violence. In fact, Kerala CPM is better than them. They at least maintained an ideology. While in West Bengal, the CPM has nothing to do except creating disturbances.”
Daring the CPM to protest and engage in violence in other parts of the country, including the national capital, the Trinamool Congress chief claimed that the Left party is jealous of the development programmes undertaken by her government since 2011. “Every year, the CPM calls bandhs, instead of organising protests. Organising a movement is a difficult task and we have been protesting against the NPR, NRC through people’s movement. Despite being in power, we are brave enough to protest against the NRC, CAA,” she said.
“They (CPM) are jealous of the development undertaken by the state government. During their 34-year-rule, they did nothing and are now destroying properties and infrastructure. I do not believe in hooliganism and violence. The law will take its own course. Police will take action against those inciting violence and destroying government’s property,” she said.
“Instead of helping people when the economy is witnessing a slowdown and people’s income is receding, common people suffer due to bandhs,” 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.