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Will the Left succeed in their bandh today in Bengal?

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Today will be no ordinary day for the ordinary citizen of Bengal. For no matter, how hard Bengal government tries to keep the state normal and everything moving, there will be elements on the streets that will try to make life difficult for the common man. Despite the larger number of State run buses and other vehicles on roads, there might still be a sense of fear prevailing, knowing perfectly well, how the Left aligned trade unions have over decades resorted to violence to disrupt the daily life. And they haven’t learnt it seems from past experiences, they again have called all India bandh today and tomorrow.

Boarding a bus might need your acrobatic skills today, or even worse if a sudden piece of brick flies past your head landing on the windscreen of the bus, smashing it to pieces. Or maybe you might be caught up in a street protest, after all even a handful of protesters can disrupt the road. Protests can be varied, for that’s what democracy teaches us. It doesn’t teach us to shut down everything creating chaos and tarnishing the image of a state that probably the Left rule in Bengal has done for decades. Today, however the administration proposes to work earnestly challenging these disruptive forces. Thankfully, shops and factories will remain open, not hampering the daily trade and production that not just feeds the upper class of the society, but also the daily wage earners. The present government has assured the people of Bengal of a normal work-life inspite of the threats being propagated for the past few days. The people of Bengal by now know how the three decades of bandh culture has tarnished the image of Bengal and its nine million people to the world. Like in the previous couple of years when such bands were declared to ‘provide justice to the people’, the clarion call by the present administration to us to boycott the move had paid dividend. The people of Bengal are tired of such benevolent moves by the Left and are sure to hit the road as any other day.

Regardless of any political preference, even if we the citizens suffer from the Hamletian dilemma of ‘To be or not to be,’we should keep all our daily schedules intact. For who can ever forget the disruptive bandhs of the seventies and eighties, with the left ‘people loving’ parties enforcers and musclemen touring every pocket of the city on motorcycles ensuring everything was shut. The non-cooperative and the not so cooperative shop owners and businessmen were physically threatened. At times, a blaring lethal bomb would rip the silence of a quiet and desolate lane. Or busy thoroughfares taken over by cricket playing lads.

According to the reports of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the total loss due to a 12-hour bandh in recent years in the state amounts to Rs. 804.55 crore, inclusive of the NSDP (net state domestic product) figures. Our present Chief Minister in her characteristic operational style has vowed not to allow West Bengal to shut down again.

Let us all vow the same. Let the once famous quote – What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow not go a waste.