Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Sunday criticised the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front for calling a 12-hour shutdown on Monday in protest against the fuel price hike.
"We don't support this bandh. The bandh will not reduce the suffering of the common people," Banerjee said.
While addressing mediapersons at her Kalighat residence, she asked: "What good has the CPI-M-led Left Front government done in the last 34 years except doing bandh politics?"
"A one day bandh means a great loss to business. If they are so concerned with the fuel price hike then why is the state government not slashing the taxes it has imposed on fuel and cooking gas?" she asked.
"During the bandh, the supply of commodities comes to a halt resulting in crisis of basic amenities and subsequently the prices of the essential commodities goes up unnecessarily," Banerjee said.
She said while the Left parties and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) jointly called a 12-hour nationwide strike July 5, the Maoists had also called a 48-hours shutdown July 7 and July 8. The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) had threatened to call 40-days long strike from Aug 2 in the three hilly sub-divisions of Darjeeling if the sixth rounds of tripartite talks were not held before July 24.
She said: "What is happening in Bengal? If all the parties continue with their bandh programme there will be a shutdown of 200 days in a year."
The union railway minister also cautioned the Left Front government saying "If they try to impose the bandh forcefully then the common man will not accept it".
"Trinamool Congress is the lone party to raise its voice against price hire of petroleum products. We even discussed with the union petroleum minister on this issue and also made it clear that we are not supporting it. But that doesn't mean we will call a bandh or support it," Banerjee said.
Banerjee also accused the CPI-M of using the joint forces as a shield to capture the villages in the tribal dominated areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia and vowed to complain against it to the home minister.
"The CPI-M is using the joint forces operation as a shield to capture villages in West Midnapore and Purulia. West Bengal government is misleading the joint forces. CPI-M cadres are inflicting havoc on the common people in the Jangal Mahal area. The CPI-M is building its own camps in those villages. I will tell this to the union home minister," Banerjee said.
"I have spoken with the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee," said the railway minister.
The joint forces compromising of both Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the state police launched the anti-Maoist operations in June 2009, in parts of three West Bengal's districts - West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.