Eighteen Left and other parties on Friday called a 12-hour general strike in Bengal on November 28 to protest the harassment faced by people following the central government's demonetisation move.
The parties held a meeting at the CPI-M headquarters, Muzaffar Bhavan, during the day to zero in on a general strike to press for a four-point charter of demands.
The political outfits demanded that the central government make arrangements for supplying adequate smaller denomination currency to banks, ATMs and post offices to provide succour to the masses reeling under a cash crunch, senior CPI-M leader and Left Front Chairman Biman Bose told the media.
They also asked the Centre to recover the Rs 11-lakh crore loans, which have not been repaid to the banks and use the money to write off all farm loans, allow people to exchange Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 old notes until December 30 or until the time alternative arrangements are made to supply the required quantum of currency notes to the masses.
The parties also demanded confiscation of all black money stashed abroad to strike at the root of the black money problem.
"The abrupt decision of the central government to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes has adversely hit the daily lives of all sections of people, particularly the workers, peasants and agricultural labourers.
"Daily wagers, fishermen, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) workers are unable to make both ends meet due to lack of cash," said Bose.
Refusing to buy the central government's argument that the step was necessary to recover black money, he said: "This argument does not hold, as they have not made any attempt to recover black money stashed in foreign banks by the filthy rich. The sufferings of the common people are manufactured (by the Centre)."
The parties attending the meeting include the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Nationalist Congress Party.
The strike would be part of the nationwide 'Akrosh Diwas' (anger day)' called by the opposition parties decrying demonetisation.
A day earlier, the parties had announced week-long protests, beginning with street corners and small meetings in the districts until November 27 and sit-in demonstrations on November 28 before the Reserve Bank of India and central government offices as also in the districts.
The state's ruling Trinamool Congress, however, opposed the general strike.
"CPI-M is trying to fish in troubled waters. They know they don't have the strength to bring out protest rallies. Our leader Mamata Banerjee is the first leader to protest against demonetisation. She also asked them to join her, but they refused," said Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim.
"They want Bengal to regress. People of Bengal don't support such strikes. Our leader has called a rally in the city on November 28. All sections of people would rather join that rally and protest against the Modi government. People are already in distress due to the currency crisis. The general strike would only increase the people's misery," he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)