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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Political Circus of a Strike!

The Mumbai Motormen Strike made national headlines today--stalling even the Parliament.

As usual, the motormen of Mumbai local trains wanted more pay and more facilities. They gave an ultimatum four days ago and that news was also carried by media. And as usual, no serious thoughts were given to it. So they struck work on the afternoon of May 3, 2010 and Mumbai, with its lifelines halted, came to a standstill. 

Thousands got stranded in different local railway stations, eager to go home and agitated at not being able to do so. Extra buses were provided, but that only led to massive traffic snarls. Thousands spent the night either in stations or offices or streets.

The political parties initially supported the motormen, because they cannot afford to hurt potential voters. But when they saw millions suffering, they turned turtle. The opposition parties disrupted the Parliament sessions announcing that till trains start running in Mumbai, Parliament must not run on. Regional parties started withdrawing support to the motormen and started appealing demanding warning or intimidating the motormen to come back to work. The ruling party, caught in the crossfire, suddenly thought of taking resort to a draconian law  which put the supporting or opposing opposition in a dilemma. What to do? Which action would give them better mileage?

Then an assurance was given which could have been given anytime last four days or even before that and the strike was called off, after about 30 excruciating hours. A mere internal matter of better pay to employees became a crippling national problem.

If we doubt the final match of the Modified IPL T20 as a fixed one, then what do we do about this immensely avoidable strike? Prefixed?

Finally, all seem to be happy except millions of voters who have no option but to fill in the always overcrowded local trains of Mumbai--for work and mere living.
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