The Left Front was left red-faced as its 12-hour strike to protest the Centre's demonetisation of high-denomination currency notes on Monday failed to evoke much response from people, with front chairman Biman Bose acknowledging that the "thought" behind it was wrong. "We thought that the people would understand the reason behind the strike. The thought we had was not right; it was wrong. We have understood this. We will take lessons from it in the future. We will discuss it at the party meetings," he candidly told reporters.
However, Bose argued that the strike was called at a "very short notice".
"We hope the people will understand next month why we had called the strike. Banks, ATMs are out of money, so how will they run their families in the days to come? It is a complex issue which the people will understand from their personal experiences," he said. The strike was announced by the Left parties at 8 pm on November 25 after an urgent meeting called by the front.
It failed to evoke much response since government and private buses, trams and other modes of transport, including private vehicles, were seen plying on the roads normally, while most of the shops and markets remained open. Train services of the Eastern Railway in Sealdah and Howrah sections, besides Metro Rail services, were also normal, Railway sources said.
Bose said the strike was called to protest the Centre's decision to demonetise high-value currency notes and demand more time for the masses to tide over the hardship. "We had never demanded a rollback of the decision as the TMC had. We are not against unearthing of black money. What we had demanded was more time for the people to absorb the effects of the decision," he added.
Arch rival Trinamool Congress, which too is against the Centre's move, said it was good that the Left Front had understood the "futility" of calling strikes. TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said, "It is good that they have understood the basic fact that the people are fed up with strikes and bandhs. A strike puts a lot of economic burden on the state. We too had opposed the demonetisation and demanded a rollback. They could have taken out a rally. But no, as TMC had a rally scheduled for today, they called a strike."