THE LEFT Front was left red-faced as its 12-hour strike to protest the Centre’s demonetisation of high-value currency notes Monday failed to evoke much response from people, with chairman Biman Bose acknowledging that the “thought” behind the bandh was wrong.
“There is no point claiming that the bandh was entirely successful… it was successful only in some pockets. We took the decision on November 25 evening… there was hardly any time to campaign for the bandh… None of the trade union leaders were present in the city to spread awareness, so, it was not very effective. Also, we think people still believe that Modi’s decision of demonetisation will help unearth black money, but they don’t realise that the money is mostly overseas,” Bose said.
Watch What Else Is making News
Maintaining that they would introspect, he added: “We will meet after November 30 and definitely take a lesson from this… We had thought that people would understand the significance… The thought we had was not right; it was wrong. We have understood this. We will take lessons from it in the future.”
“We hope the people will understand next month why we had called the strike. Banks, ATMs are out of money, so how will they run their families in the days to come? It is a complex issue, which the people will understand from their personal experiences,” he said.
Bose said the strike was called to protest the Centre’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes and demand more time for the masses to tide over the hardship. “We had never demanded a rollback of the decision as the Trinamool had. We are not against unearthing of black money. What we had demanded was more time for the people to absorb the effects of the decision,” he added.
The bandh call on Monday failed to evoke much response since the government and private buses, trams and other modes of transport, including private vehicles, were seen plying on the roads normally, while most of the shops and markets remained open. Train services of the Eastern Railway in Sealdah and Howrah sections, besides Metro Rail services, were also normal, Railway sources said. Schools were also mostly open, except a few.
At Canning in South-24 Parganas, leaders of INTTUC — the labour union wing of Trinamool — had pasted notices at autorickshaw stands that claimed if the drivers did not go out, they won’t be allowed to ply for a month. In West Midnapore and Purulia, Trinamool supporters took out motorcycle rallies.
Trinamool Congress, which too is against the Centre’s move, said it was good that the Left Front had understood the “futility” of calling strikes. Party national secretary general Partha Chatterjee said: “People are already suffering and they don’t need a bandh at this moment.
By calling a bandh at the drop of a hat, the Left has made its effect ineffective. It should be your last resort.”
He added: “A strike puts a lot of economic burden on the state. We too had opposed the demonetisation and demanded a rollback. They could have taken out a rally. But no, as Trinamool had a rally scheduled for today, they called a strike.”
When contacted, state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said: “The bandh was a knee-jerk reaction… It is good that they have taken a lesson and will perhaps act accordingly in the future.”