“Bandhs should not be misused”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told the Assembly on Tuesday that she intended to call an all-party meeting to arrive at a consensus on exercising restraint in calling bandhs and organising blockades on roads as a form of protest.

“My appeal is not to resort to bandhs on every pretext….Bandhs (as a form of protest) should not be misused”, she said.

“The economic situation in the State is bad enough; none has the right to deny people their means of livelihood”, the Chief Minister later told journalists, even as she emphasised that her government respected and will safeguard the rights of workers There is the government, the labour department, to which aggrieved workers could take their cases, she added.

“I have no objection to obstructions as a spontaneous response to any issue but they should not be staged for furthering political ends. We have had enough of this politics; let there be no more….The State suffers, development regresses on this account”, Ms Banerjee said.

Her party, the Trinamool Congress, was opposed to calling of bandhs, strikes and demonstrations on roads even when it was in the Opposition, the Chief Minister claimed.

Pointing out that while obstructions on roads caused great inconvenience to the people she said that industry would suffer if bandhs and hartals are called on every other pretext.

Leader of the Opposition, Surya Kanta Mishra, welcomed the Chief Minister's approach but added that the right to protest could not be taken away from the people.

Ms Banerjee also told the House that her government would put on hold its decision to revive the Vidhan Parishad (State Legislative Council) in view of objections raised by the Opposition.

“This decision has been taken as a consensus among all political parties has not been arrived at even though we have majority to see the Vidhan Parishad Bill through”, she told journalists.

  • “My appeal is not to resort to bandhs on every pretext”
  • “Government respected and will safeguard the rights of workers”