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Buddha slams 'unholy' nexus
- CPM ridicules concept of grand alliance; Mamata says party is scared, tie-up to be finalised in a month

Calcutta, Jan. 3: Breaking his silence on the 'grand alliance' Mamata Banerjee has been trying to foist on pre-election Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today made mockery of the concept.

'What's this all about maha-mahajot (grand, grand alliance)' If it at all materialises, will it not look like an alliance between Gandhiji and Nathuram Godse' the chief minister asked.

The reference, though not mentioned, was clear ' the Trinamul Congress leader's efforts to tie up with the Congress despite her alliance with the BJP.

'No grand alliance will be able to overthrow the Left Front from Bengal as it was formed through relentless struggle over the years'. People have no faith in a mahajot devoid of any principle other than capturing power,' Bhattacharjee added.

He was speaking at a programme to mark the anniversary of party mouthpiece Ganashakti at Calcutta University's Centenary Hall. State CPM secretary Anil Biswas and front chairman Biman Bose were among those present.

The chief minister said there is no alternative to the front. 'To us, the Left Front is the only alternative.'

Reacting to Bhattacharjee's remarks, an agitated Mamata said tonight the CPM was scared of a mahajot emerging. 'Our chief minister's worries about my efforts to stitch together all anti-CPM parties, including the Congress, in the run-up to the Assembly elections are indicative of his growing apprehensions about possible electoral reverses,' she said.

The grand alliance, Mam-ata added, will take shape in a month, 'whether the CPM wants it or not'.

The Trinamul leader said she would shortly call on defence minister and state Congress president Pranab Mukherjee to further discuss the modalities for the alliance. 'I do not like to hear about principles from a chief minister who is unconcerned when people are dying of starvation in the villages of Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura,' she added.

Mamata had called on Mukherjee on New Year's Eve, apparently to discuss the pre-poll pact.

At the CPM programme, Anil Biswas said: 'We have been hearing for some time that one nominee from the combined Opposition would be taking on a Left Front candidate in the coming polls. But this one-is-to-one formula will not work out because those who have sought to float the grand alliance have no agenda of their own.What is their strategy to improve the lot of the poor in Bengal'

The CPM again insinuated that the Naxalites were working together with Trinamul supporters in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore.

While killing a CPM leader and his wife in Purulia on Saturday, the rebels had said they were avenging the Chhoto Angaria massacre in which 11 Trinamul supporters were allegedly killed.

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