The flavour of Kolkata

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

Monday, January 08, 2007

The new political game

This blog of late is talking political pretty often, but that was least intended. As it is, the burning topics are increasingly getting political making sensible citizens disoriented.

Bandhs (Strike) seem to be back in Bengal with a bang. This would be the least wished observation in the new year, but unfortunately it has turned out to be happening.

In keeping with the disturbing trend that the city witnessed last December, calling a bandh at the drop of a hat or with no objectivity, just to get political mileage and turning back to the very people who it is meant for, political parties started the new year with yet another Bangla (Bengal) bandh called today. Yesterday Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), BJP, SUCI (By now a familiar face in negative and cheap politics, quite far from their sincere pro-people movements in the past that didn't require bandhs much) and some naxalite outfits announced the bandh as a protest to the killings out of the political clash that broke out at last Saturday evening at Nandigram between supporters and members of CPM and opposition parties.


The clash was a repurcussion of the attacks on CPI(M) supporters and burning of CPI(M)'s party office in the last week. This was done by some over-enthusiastic people among a huge group of villagers agitated by the possibility of their land/ home being acquired by the state govt. for a special economic zone (SEZ). Though no public notice of land acquisition was supposed to be given right now, there was an internal administrative notification listing which mouzas are being eyed for the SEZ. This was leaked and the news spread like wildfire leading to the agitation. Needless to say there were political hands behind organizing thousands of villagers for the movement. Some naxal paeople incl. university students from outside Bengal were arrested and as The Telegraph reported today, Jamait-Ulema-i-Hind, an outfit with a strong base in Nandigram started preparation for the same three months back as soon as they came to know that land would be required for the proposed SEZ.

But a corresponding trend of people who are sick of bandhs is gradually gaining momentum. It's these people who went to work defying the SUCI-sponsored bandh on December 5 last year turning it into a big joke, and it's the scare of them that propelled Mamata Banerjee, the TMC chief to call off (She called it 'Postponed'!!) her proposed bandhs on Dec 21 and 22.

People did come out today also, like myself and most of my colleagues. And apart from govt. buses, quite a few private buses did ply. How far the bandh was defied is to be confirmed later, but the scar on people's mind caused by the bandh call will definitely strengthen the resolve of defying bandhs in the future of those who dared not to leave home today.