Kolkata, Jan 3, 2009: After squatting overnight near Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's residence demanding release of her party supporters, Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee called off her dharna early today. However, she did not make it clear as to why the dharna at Ballygunge Phari, a short distance away from Chief Minister's south Kolkata residence, was called off even though the arrested persons were not released. She said their agitation will continue and "we have the support of lakhs of people with us".
TC-backed autorickshaw and taxidrivers unions have called a 12-hour autorickshaw and taxi strike in the city from 6 am today.TC activists led by Banerjee were protesting alleged police repression against the drivers and party supporters of two-stroke autorickshaws. TC leaders will also bring out a procession in the city during the day against alleged police repression.
Meanwhile, CPI-M State Secretary Biman Basu accused Banerjee's agitation as an attempt to "create a semi-Fascist atmosphere of terror" in West Bengal by allowing anti-social elements to hijack the campaign last night." CPI-M would organise a state-wide procession today in protest against the manner in which TC has been pushing the state towards disaster," Basu said. Basu said that never in the past a political party had attempted to gherao Chief Minister's residence at the dead of night.