Mamata asks EC to ban parties calling shutdowns
Kolkata, Feb 20 : Claiming that the two-day countrywide strike called by trade unions was a damp squib, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday asked the Election Commission (EC) to ban parties calling shutdowns.
Banerjee said at the state secretariat: "It is my humble request to the Election Commission... whichever party calls a bandh (shutdown) should be banned."
She said strikes were not the right way to protest against government policies in a democracy.
She alleged that parties that supported the 48-hour strike called by the central trade unions against inflation and several policies of the union government did not have the "courage" to move a no-confidence motion in parliament against the Congress-led UPA government.
Banerjee claimed buses were plying and over 50 percent of shops were open.
"I salute my working class for rejecting the strike. It is an emergency situation for the state as it has been facing a huge debt burden. So we cannot afford any shutdowns," she said.
She added that most departments of the state secretariat, Writers' Building, witnessed full attendance.
"Some departments have up to 97 percent attendance. This government will favour employees who do not participate in this strike and are working well," Banerjee said.
Taking a dig at the Left parties for supporting the strike, she said: "Nowadays strikes are being organised like a quota system. This is not the way to register your protest in a democratic country. We are also opposing the centre's policies on FDI in multi-brand retail and fuel price hike, but we are against any shutdown or blockade."
"They could have moved the no-confidence motion (against the centre) in parliament. But they don't have the courage," Banerjee said.