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Featured Image: A pro-bandh rally led by CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty at Jadavpur in Kolkata. 

Newsmen Bureau

Kolkata, 28 November: THE 12-hour general strike against demonetisation called by 18 Left parties has failed to have an impact anywhere in Bengal making Left Front chairman Biman Bose to lament that people have not been able to comprehend the sufferings that were in the offing.

Right from Kolkata to other parts of south Bengal, Siliguri to Darjeeling and rest of north Bengal, the strike have had very little or no response at all. However, in Birbhum, Burdwan, and Siliguri, private passenger vehicles were less in number as compared to other days.

In Kolkata, a pro-bandh rally led by Biman Bose traversed from Mullickbazar to Moulali, and another led by Sujan Chakraborty hit the streets in Jadavpur but that were of hardly any use. 

The way the day turned out to be in Bengal, by afternoon the Left Front chairman had no other option to concede failure.

“We called the general strike in people’s interest to draw Centre’s attention to the immense hardships caused by demonetisation. People have not been able to comprehend our intent but they would eventually realise this in the coming days as life and livelihood continue to suffer,” Bose told a news conference in the afternoon.

“In particular, government employees and school teachers who did not join the strike the hard way when they would not be able draw their full salary in the next month,” he added.

Bose, who also happens to be the politburo member of the CPI-M, said that the Left parties failed to read people’s mood correctly while deciding on today’s general strike against demonetisation.

“The strike has not been successful and this makes it clear that we failed to read people’s mood. We shall take lesson from this,” he said but refusing to admit that this was people’s verdict against bandh in general.

The Left Front chairman also tried to put up an excuse saying that the strike was announced all of a sudden and hence there was enough time to publicise this throughout the state.

“We met on 25 November afternoon and announced the strike that evening. Hence, there was very little time for publicity drives in all the 2 districts of Bengal. Besides, CPI-M trade union leaders are now out of the state for a conference and this also hampered our preparation.”

Bose also accused the state administration, in particular police, of forcing traders to open their shops. Left leaders and workers were arrested by police in Lake Town, Jalpaiguri, and Cooch Behar for taking out rallies in support of the bandh.

In view of the unsuccessful general strike, none other than Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee has offered the Left a piece of advice.

“I urge my CPM friends to come out on the streets against demonetisation and also stand by the people as we are doing. Simply giving a call for bandh from the comfort of your homes would not work,” said Banerjee, who led an anti-demonetisation rally from College Square to Esplanade this noon.