The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A triumph of people

The 48-hour bandh on Dec 21-22 was called off from the brink (Wednesday afternoon). And it's clearly a triumph of the people who revolted.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee got an indication of the revolt of the people since yesterday morning as media joined people's resolve to give TMC a piece of their mind by even walking to work if need be during the bandh days. The Telegraph carried a front-page campaign with a huge heading- DEFY BANDH. The story was based on a survey done on Tuesday where 66% Kolkatans said they'd surely go to work on bandh days. A serious finding for any political party indeed.

The bandh didn't have any worthy issue as such. The anchor issue was the land acquisition in Singur where the Tata Motors small car plant is coming up. On this very issue TMC had called their December 1 bandh. Another issue, that of the mysterious burn death of Tapasi Mallick, a teenager at Singur, on last Monday, was tagged along. TMC suspected it was a 'rape and murder' either by police personnel deployed at the car factory site or with their support. Otherwise such an incident is unbelieveable at a place where section 144 is in force. They immedietly demanded a CBI probe. They've made this demand in a couple of cases in the past. But this time CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya really surprised them by accepting the demand immedietly by initiatng a CBI enquiry. Hence since the second issue lost sheen, the anchor issue couldn't hold itself on the face of public wrath. And anyways, an issue like this death, however condemnable it may be, doesn't merit to be a bandh issue.

Also all chambers of commerce joined hands to protest. It came out that if bandh again becomes a culture, and doesn't remain an exception as it should be, many potential investors may take a relook at their investment plans for Kolkata and Bengal.

People defied the bandh call by SUCI on December 5 by going to work in big numbers. SUCI's last few bandh calls were success but this one was a tight slap on it's face. The same fate awaited TMC. Good for them they stepped out of the line.

Hope it will make the political parties of this state do a rethink on their protest agenda which often starts with bandh.