Kolkata: The Trinamul Congress government has vowed to take stern action against those trying to enforce a 12-hour bandh on Wednesday called by the BJP in West Bengal to protest the killing of two students in a clash with police in North Dinajpur district, while a combative BJP warned of "repercussions" if the ruling party attempted to foil the stir.
The opposition BJP took out rallies in the city and the state on Tuesday in support of the 'Bangla bandh', while the ruling Trinamul Congress (TMC) countered it with processions denouncing it.
The BJP claimed that the shutdown would be a complete success as the people of Islampur, where the clash took place on Thursday over appointment of Urdu teacher, and the entire state are fed up with the "misrule of TMC".
TMC secretary general and state education minister Partha Chatterjee charged the BJP with trying to foment trouble in the state and said that all steps will be taken to ensure normal life is not affected. "The police will take stern action if anyone tries to enforce the bandh," he said and accused the BJP of trying to instil a sense of fear among the people. The education minister asked schools and colleges to remain open.
Some private schools have declared a holiday tomorrow on account of the bandh.
State-run buses will ply as usual, he said and urged commercial establishments, private offices and educational institutions to function normally on Wednesday.
But BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said "the people are fed up with this government. They will participate in this strike peacefully. But if the TMC and its goons try to foil the strike, there will be repercussions."
"The state government is trying to hush up the incident in Islampur (in North Dinajpur). But we won't stop until and unless justice is delivered," he said.
The state government has already issued a notification for its employees asking them to attend office on the bandh day.
There will be no holiday on the day before or after the Bangla Bandh. Even a half holiday will not be sanctioned on the day, it said. Mr Chatterjee alleged, "The BJP is trying to instil a sense of fear among the masses with their 12-hour strike call. The kind of language they are using is completely unacceptable. They don't have any mass base and are issuing threats. "We (TMC) are against the culture of strike and shutdown. In the present economic situation of the state we can't afford to have the luxury of calling a shutdown. We will not allow such strike and shutdown in the state," he said.
He said that private schools which have declared a holiday on Wednesday should have discussed the matter with the state government before taking a call on it.
Mr Ghosh, however, said that the state government goes all out to foil a strike if the Opposition parties call a bandh and wondered if chief minister Mamata Banerjee has forgotten how many strikes her party had called in West Bengal since 1998, the year the TMC was formed.