Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday questioned the motive behind the two-day nationwide Bharat Bandh called by central trade unions to protest against the “anti-people” policies of the Narendra Modi-led government.
“Are there any real issues before them or is it a part of the strategy of the Left political organisations to organise a symbolic unrest to ensure that they are not wiped out from the political map of India” Jaitley asked in a post on Facebook. “The strength of the Left Parties has been significantly eroded in West Bengal and Tripura. In the recent past, the political environment in Kerala is also building against them.”
Jaitley said a Group of Ministers was constituted to maintain dialogue with the trade unions. The minister said some trade unions who were forthcoming had “succeeded in persuading the government” to announce measures for the welfare of workers.
Trade unions had alleged that the Group of Ministers headed by Jaitley had not called unions for discussions since the September 2015 strike against the government’s labour policy, forcing them to go on another strike.
Jaitley listed the steps taken by the Modi government to help workers. He said no other government has taken so many pro-worker decisions to ensure that workers benefit from the economic development of the country.
“Notwithstanding the above, if the Left Trade Unions insist on politicising the Trade Union Movement to manufacture a protest on non-existent issues, it is for the workmen in the country to seriously analyse what the present government has done for them and compare it with the relatively blank record of several earlier governments.”
The 48-hour strike was supported by the All India Kisan Sabha, Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, and several other organisations. The first day of the strike saw protestors stopping buses and trains, pelting stones and clashing with the police. In Rajasthan, at least 22 police personnel and 50 civilians were wounded in clashes. On the second day, four people were injured in West Bengal.