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Cong joins Mamata movement
- Fresh campaign against Nandigram violence

Calcutta, April 29: The Congress will join forces with Mamata Banerjee as she launches a fresh movement tomorrow against the “state-sponsored” violence in Nandigram.

The state Congress, so far reluctant to commit itself to a formal handshake because of the Trinamul Congress’s BJP ties, changed its mind after today’s Nandigram clash left at least one person dead.

“The BJP is not a part of the Trinamul Congress-led Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee. So we have no problem in aligning with Mamata at this juncture,” state Congress working president Pradip Bhattacharya said this afternoon.

Former state Congress chief Somen Mitra said the time has come for all secular democratic forces to come together to protest against the CPM’s “atrocities” on the people of Nandigram.

Earlier in the day, Mamata announced a movement across Bengal “against the violence unleashed by the CPM in connivance with the administration in Nandigram”.

Addressing a news conference at her Kalighat home, the Trinamul leader urged all parties “to collaborate with us, rising above political ideologies, and protest against this state-sponsored terrorism”.

Mamata said a one-hour rasta roko across the city has been lined up tomorrow from 11 am under the banner of the Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee. This will be followed by protest meetings in all 341 blocks in the state the next day. On Wednesday, police stations across the state would be gheraoed.

The state Congress, isolated for its lackadaisical campaign against land acquisition, lapped up Mamata’s offer, which could help the party retrieve its “lost image”.

“We should immediately jump onto the anti-land acquisition bandwagon led by Mamata. This will at least help us restore our credibility before the public,” former mayor Subrata Mukherjee said.

Mamata blamed the CPM for today’s clash in Nandigram. “The government has miserably failed to contain violence after the March 14 police firing. The CPM does not want peace to be restored in Nandigram. And that is why CPM men, at the chief minister’s behest, have been continuously attacking innocent people there,” she alleged.

The Trinamul chief ruled out talks with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee until peace is restored in Nandigram.

Mamata said she had informed President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and the Prime Minister’s Office about today’s clash. Party MLA Saugata Roy has also spoken to governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi seeking his intervention.

A delegation of the Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee will visit Nandigram tomorrow.

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