A general strike called by the left parties in West Bengal on Friday failed to create much impact. As per reports, the strike drew a lukewarm response from the public, with most people normally going about their duties and the public transport remaining available. In light of the strike, the authorities had made strict security arrangements.
In total 16 left parties including all partners of the former ruling party, the CPI-M had called for a six-hour shutdown from 6 AM, to protest against the TMC’s efforts to bar opposition candidates from filing their nomination for the upcoming Panchayat elections.
Despite all the efforts of the left, office-goers in Kolkata and its twin city Howrah normally went to work. Public transportation including the metro plied normally. The Eastern and South-Eastern Railway sections too weren’t impacted by the strike. Educational institutions as per reports also normally went by their business, this included CBSE and the Calcutta University conducting examinations normally.
In order to further minimise the impact of the strike, the state government had issued a whip directing employees to report to work on Friday. A notification was also issued informing the employees that no casual leaves would be entertained on the day of the strike.
Most districts except West Bardhaman too functioned normally. In West Bardhaman’s Durgapur stray incidents of violence were reported, with left supporters putting up blockades and clashing with the police.
This strike which was called to protest against the barrage of violence believed to be perpetrated by the ruling TMC, against opposition party members, to try and prevent them from contesting the Panchayat polls scheduled to be held in the first week of May.
Just yesterday the Mamata government suffered a setback after the Calcutta High Court stayed all poll processes. The High Court also directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to furnish a comprehensive status report by Monday containing details like – total nominations filed and percentage of nominations rejected until further notice.