Bengal: T20 bandh goes utterly unnoticed, even in CPM hub

KOLKATA: Whether you blinked or not, you would have anyway missed Friday’s sixhour bandh.
The Left Front’s brief strike from 6am to noon, which was called to protest against the ongoing panchayat poll violence, went completely unnoticed and unobserved, even at headquarters on Alimuddin Street. While roads in city remained choked with traffic like every day, offices and education institutes stayed open as usual. All shops, even those near CPM party headquarters Muzaffar Ahmed Bhavan, did not down the shutters. It might have been the city’s first tryst with a T-20 style “short” bandh, but it was not a patch on what used to be infamously violent strikes, called by the Left.

“There was a time when people living in the neighbourhood or running business would not defy a bandh called by the Left because it was the party’s hub in the true sense. Things have changed a lot since then,” said Mohammad Maqsud, owner of a restaurant on Alimuddin Street that draws throngs of people for its dalpuri and tea. He claims his restaurant is so close to the party office that tea from his eatery is still served to several senior Left leaders. From tea stalls to grocery stores, it was business was as usual for everybody. Almost all senior CPM leaders still visit the place every day.

Kolkatans, who were a little apprehensive about getting caught on the road, were pleasantly surprised. employee left for her office at Rajarhat halfan-hour earlier than usual. “But it was smooth sailing and I reached office faster than other days. There was nothing to suggest a bandh was on,” she said.

Aloka Chattopadhyay was a bit hesitant about sending his son, a Class-XI student, to school. But once they hit the road, their worries disappeared. “Travelling was easy and there were hardly any absentees in school,” Chattopadhyay said.

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