Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has slammed the Left and the Congress over their support to the 24-hour nationwide strike by trade unions. "Those who don't have political existence are calling strikes," said the Chief Minister, who for several years, has been vehemently against strikes in the state.
Bengal has been witnessing clashes since morning as supporters of Trinamool Congress took on the Left supporters who were attempting to enforce the strike. Bandh supporters also clashed with the police, the worst at Kaliachak in Malda district, where the bandh supporters set four police vehicles on fire and the police had to resort to teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
Violence was also reported in parts of Kolkata, where a police vehicle was targeted and CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty was detained at Jadavpur.
In North and South 24 Parganas district, Left supporters held a "Rail Roko protest" this morning to support the strike call by trade unions. Crude oil bombs were found on rail tracks, the railway police said.
The Left accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of doublespeak after she said it would not support the strike though she supported the issues raised.
Before coming to power in the state, Mamata Banerjee had held numerous agitations, peppered with strikes against the Left regime. She has also been one of the fiercest critics of the Narendra Modi-led government, against which the protest is on.
The Congress has supported the strike, called against what the Centre of India Trade Unions or CITU said was "anti-labour policies" of the Central government.
"The Modi-Shah Govt's anti people, anti labour policies have created catastrophic unemployment & are weakening our PSUs to justify their sale to Modi's crony capitalist friends. Today, over 25 crore workers have called for #BharatBandh2020 in protest. I salute them," senior party leader Rahul Gandhi posted on Twitter.
In Maharashtra, the coalition government led by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has supported the trade union strike.