The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul wants to talk Singur, not industry Demand: CBI inquiry

Calcutta, Oct. 3: The Trinamul Congress today turned down chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s request and said it would boycott tomorrow’s all-party meeting because his invite does not mention Singur or the police action on Mamata Banerjee there last week.

The party stuck to its decision to enforce the October 9 Bengal bandh and demanded a CBI probe into the way police and RAF personnel broke a siege to the Singur block office laid by Mamata and her supporters on the night of September 25.

Former Union minister Ajit Panja told a news conference that the letter issued by the chief minister’s secretariat only says the meeting had been called “to discuss the process of industrialisation in the state”.

“In such a meeting, you can’t raise any other issue. It is useless to attend it.”

Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesman Dinesh Trivedi today formally informed the secretary to the chief minister’s office Trinamul’s refusal to attend the meeting.

“They (the government) have no intention to settle the issue of farmers at Singur. This is an attempt to mislead and hoodwink the people. It will not serve any purpose,” he wrote.

Trivedi reiterated that Trinamul was against acquisition of multi-crop land for industry, though the government again reminded it that it was trying to spare fertile tracts as much as possible.

“Agriculture and industry must progress side by side,” the Trinamul leader said.

Panja said the meeting was called in a hurry and would not serve any purpose. “It is an attempt to cover up their misdeeds. Land acquisition by terrorising farmers has to stop.”

The bandh is still daylong, added Panja.

Mamata, hospitalised on Thursday with chest pain and breathing problems, is said to be stable now.

The chief minister had issued a statement last Sunday virtually regretting the police action by saying it was unwanted and could have been avoided. He also appealed to the Opposition to attend the meeting.

The Congress has agreed to do so. State party working president Pradip Bhattacharya, who met president Pranab Mukherjee in his south Calcutta house tonight, said: “We’re attending the meeting. We stick to our stand: the car factory must be set up in Singur, but not on multi-crop land.”

Congress leaders close to Union information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi were not happy, though. “What is the use of the meeting now'”asked Subrata Mukherjee. “The land has been acquired and most compensation cheques have been disbursed.”

Pranab Mukherjee said the Congress was yet to decide whether to support the bandh.

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