Ahead of Tuesday's nationwide general strike called by 11 trade unions, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday warned of action, including break in service, in case state government employees failed to turn up for duty, as the CPI-M accused her government of "trying to break the strike by force".
Expressing her government's resolve to maintain normal life in the state
tomorrow, Banerjee asked state employees to attend duty as usual on Tuesday, and warned of action, including a break in service, as per rules in the event of absence, asking transport operators to ply vehicles to facilitate passenger movement.
"Steps have been taken to run trains, trams, buses. My government will also not allow any forcible closure of shops and offices. I appeal to the people not to respond to the strike," she told some TV channels in Kolkata.
Banerjee, however, said that Trinamool Congress would not take to streets to counter the strike.
Assuring of steps to keep life normal during the strike tomorrow, Banerjee said that the state government's measures had been intimated to the Calcutta high court also.
Alleging that the Trinamool Congress government was out to break the strike "by applying force", opposition leader Surya Kanta Mishra said, "We treat chief minister's warning as an expression of her frustration as also fear of success of the strike.
"We once again urge all to join the strike. None can intervene to foil the strike and no amount of threat will succeed," he said.
Mishra, also CPI-M central committee member, said "break in service, as warned by the chief minister, means nothing. It is absurd and beyond rules. If an employee applies for leave, it is to be granted and government can't refuse it. It is simply undemocratic and unconstitutional."
"The chief minister may be speaking against strike today, but she had sponsored many a strike in the state in the past,'' Mishra said adding it was the Left Front government which had recognised the right to strike by its employees and never tried to break it.
Banerjee said, "We also called bandhs when we were in the opposition in the past, but later realised its futility".
She said that her government would no longer allow any "bandh politics" in the state which witnessed state-sponsored shutdowns in the past.
Lashing out at the CPI(M) and Left parties for resorting to "politics of bandhs", she said, "They have taken up the weapon of bandhs as a life-long method in the last 35 years."