May 30, 2020

Mamata’s crackdown on bandh is aimed at old adversary – Left parties she ousted in 2011

Mamata’s crackdown on bandh is aimed at old adversary – Left parties she ousted in 2011

Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government has come down heavily on the strike called by trade unions of Left organisations and backed by the Congress. Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers clashed with protesters across the state Wednesday while the authorities arrested opposition leaders and lathi-charged agitators in Malda.

The police also have registered seven cases in relation to the violent incidents near railway premises. The minister is opposed that she has termed as a means of imposing’goondagiri’ on the roads, adding that action will be taken according to the law.

The Bengal government had issued an order would be cut while cancelling leaves, when they were absent Wednesday. Mamata Banerjee has been among the most vocal opponents of NRC, the CAA and NPR. Her actions also go against her own stance on the issue — the minister had called for a ministerial alliance to fight with the citizenship law.

Analysts, however, say with the clampdown against the opposition parties, the chief minister addressed one of her adversaries — the Left parties she unseated in 2011.

CM wary of the Left

According to political experts, Mamata Banerjee has always been wary of Communist leaders in Bengal and she’ll never let even the’slightest revival’ of the CPI(M) here.

‘Mamata Banerjee should be prudent than indulging in politics. The Left parties have been protesting against CAA, NRC and NPR since the beginning but eight of her MPs were absent in Parliament on the day the CAA was passed,’ said JU professor Partha Pratim Biswas, a political analyst.

‘The strike today was not called so she could have exercised a little restraint. Given her stand on bandhs, she could have remained neutral.’

Biswas believes that the minister’s activities will play in the BJP’s hands.

‘The clampdown shows she will not allow a little opposition space,’ Biswas said. ‘This attitude enables the BJP in Bengal. By allowing the Left and Congress to survive, she ensures distance for the BJP.’

A senior leader who is part of Banerjee’s core committee told ThePrint she dislikes the opposition as she considers that her party’s defeat in several of constituencies in West Bengal from the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was due to the CPM and the Congress.

The minister urged voters, mainly Muslims, to not vote for CPM-Congress alliance. ‘Voting for the alliance signifies division of votes and the BJP will be helped by this,’ she had then said. ‘Do not vote for them as they have nothing in Bengal. They are only signboard parties’

However, if the protests are anything to go by, the state may witness a triangular competition. Left and Congress leaders were seen by wednesday leading rallies, coming together and holding pickets.

‘We will advocate for the alliance with the CPM. We called off it,’ he said.

‘Our vote shares slumped when we fought alone in the bypolls. There’s absolutely no point in dividing votes,’ he said. ‘The alliance is now a compulsion. The CPM should think over it. The politics of the BJP and mamata Banerjee are the same — both want to polarise. That’s why she does not want us to occupy any space in the state.’

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh was elated by the lack of unity.

‘Bengal forgot the last time there was a bandh held,’ he said. ‘The CPM-Congress combine pleaded with the CM to allow them to hold the rallies but she will not allow the Opposition any distance. Now, both of these — Trinamool and CPM — will begin calling each other the B group of the BJP, which means we are the A team.’

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