Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It’s Finally A Bandh In Kolkata

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

It’s been close to two months that I have arrived in Kolkata and finally I get to see the event (celebration) that the ‘City of Joy’ is famous for! Event as everybody has been talking about it for the past few days and there will be assessment of it for the next few. Celebration as many students and working professionals have got an unscheduled holiday and they don’t seem to be complaining about it (unlike some of us who have to compensate this working on a Saturday). And finally what is this bandh about, well price rise as some political party believes that the price of essential commodities have gone up. Well it is anybody’s guess if the prices will come down in the market tomorrow as an outcome of the bandh?

The ground reality is that prices of essentials have gone up all across the country and both the Centre and the States should not escape the blame. But will a bandh which causes inconvenience to the masses help the situation? Thousands of people stranded at airports and train stations have more to worry today than the price rise! Can’t they protest? Well, they can but the political leadership (from the cadre on the road to the people sitting in Writers) expect people to express the solidarity with them. Staying indoors and not working for an entire day wasting millions of ‘man hour of work’ and harming the already dented image of the state. Some people still expect investors to come to West Bengal!

Now the question arises, are only the people of Bengal affected by this price rise. From New Delhi people might reject such an idea. But the ground reality is people in Bengal are more affected by such the price rise. The reason is again the political leadership of this state who have been ruling for more than three decades. Their policies and programmes have meant that this state could never generate wealth as has been the case with many states in the post-liberalization era. Can a government after ruling for so long at one stretch shy away from the fact that Bengal lost its industrial friendly image it had prior to its rule?

The sad part is that even the opposition parties are patronizing the same brand of politics. People seem to having a difficulty in choosing between the leadership and the opposition. The lead up to the Assembly elections of 2011 will see many such bandhs and strikes as it has become Bengal’s most well known characteristics to the entire nation. Price rise hurts people when they do not have good means of income and it is the responsibility of those in power to think about empowering people rather than do such events of political tokenism. As for the people they need to understand, people choose the government and get the governance they deserve.


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