Mamata asks Election Commission to ban parties calling shutdowns

Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today urged the Election Commission to ban political parties calling shutdowns, while noting that people of Bengal have rejected the two-day strike called by Central trade unions.

Referring to court verdicts against enforcing strikes, Banerjee said, "It is my humble request to the Election Commission that political parties which call bandhs should be banned".

"We have been able to restore work culture of this state. In terms of work culture we are leading the nation right now," she claimed.

After making a round of the metropolis to see the situation for herself, Banerjee told reporters, "The strike call has been rejected by the people. I congratulate them for it". "Most shops and markets are open in the city and the state. There is 100 per cent attendance in most government departments except a few which recorded 97-98 per cent," she said.

Banerjee said though she was opposed to various polices of the central government, including issues against which the strike was called, she would not allow strikes in Bengal as it caused huge financial loss for the debt-ridden state.

"We were the first political party to oppose FDI in retail and the petrol price hike. We even came out of the UPA due to our opposition to these policies. But we don't support strikes because a strike means both economic loss and wastage of mandays," the chief minister said.

Banerjee announced that private buses and taxis which were on the roads defying the strike call would be suitably rewarded.

Banerjee, however, lost her cool when told that life in the state was partially affected as many shops and markets remained closed and the majority of buses and taxis were off the road. "You are from which house? You belong to a particular media house that is why you are asking such questions. Please go and check those markets," she retorted.

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