The West Bengal government had recently stated that there will be no bandh across the state on Thursday, adding that all government offices would be functioning as per usual and that attendance was mandatory. The 24-hour nationwide strike has been called by central trade unions to protest the policies of the Narendra Modi government. And despite the government's insistence that normal life remain undisturbed - many took to the streets on Thursday morning.
According to reports, an order from the state government had insisted that the normal life and vocation of the people should not be and that anyone mulling a protest should ensure that there is "no interruption in normal flow of road traffic or stoppage in movement of trains". The NET exam is also slated to take place today.
It however looks as though normal life in the state has already been disrupted, as the members of the Left trade union on Thursday morning blocked the railway track at Belgharia station in North 24 Parganas district and held demonstrations in Kolkata. Earlier reports had said that a CPM rally is slated to take place in the morning, and that CPM cadres intend to set up pickets in Jadavpur, Garia, Behala and some other areas of Kolkata.
With a section of the trade unions directly participating in the strike or offering support to it, it is believed that banking operations may also be affected today. While most shops will be open, reports indicate that many have expressed their intent to close in case of any untoward incident.
While the TMC insists that it endorses the protest on a moral level, it has made it clear that a bandh is not how the party seeks to make it's point at present. There will be heavy police deployment across Kolkata, but it remains unclear whether the bandh will be actively opposed.