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Mamata melts, CM matches
- Buddha ready for ‘away’ meet

Calcutta, May 9: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Mamata Banerjee have agreed to walk the extra mile for the sake of Nandigram’s homeless.

Climbing down from earlier positions, both have shown willingness to discuss at an all-party meeting how the displaced people can be sent back to their homes.

The chief minister has agreed to attend the meeting outside Writers’ Buildings to accommodate Mamata’s wish, which a CPM leader described as an “unusual request by an Opposition leader’’.

Bhattacharjee also assured Forward Bloc secretary Ashok Ghosh today that “all decisions of the proposed meeting would be implemented’’, as demanded by the Trinamul Congress leader.

Following up on yesterday’s discussions, the Bloc secretary called up Mamata this morning and discussed how to convene the all-party meeting. The Trinamul leader told Ghosh to set the date and time, adding that her party would join the peace talks.

The Bloc secretary told her the chief minister would be present and that Jyoti Basu would be requested to attend. “Buddha will attend the meeting. Mamata told me that she wouldn’t visit Writers’. I don’t know whether she will come for the meeting. The chief minister did not insist that she should go to Writers’ and said the meeting can take place elsewhere,” Ghosh said.

Ghosh added that he had got the nod for the all-party meet from front chairman Biman Bose and the chief minister before calling up Mamata. He also held a meeting with CPI and RSP leaders. However, the date of the meeting could not be fixed despite day-long confabulations.

Bhattacharjee’s eagerness for talks was evident from the fact that he didn’t wait for a Left Front session to discuss the Trinamul leader’s proposal and readily agreed to the all-party meeting plan.

“I had suggested a meeting of the Left Front to discuss Mamata’s proposal. But Buddha felt no need for it since he had told his party to accept the proposal,’’ Ghosh said.

Asked whether she would be present at the meeting, Mamata, who left for Delhi later, said: “It will depend on who is representing which party. But I have no problems attending an all-party meeting as it will be convened for restoration of normality in Nandigram. The homeless must return and for this talks are necessary. But the Nandigram massacre should also be discussed. I urged Ashokbabu to convene the meeting at the earliest when he called me at 11.50 am.”

This came from a leader who till the other day had been turning down the chief minister’s proposal for a dialogue with the Opposition.

Addressing a CPM rally in Barasat on April 28, the chief minister had said he had written six letters to the Opposition to join talks but had got no response.

“You cannot hold talks with a chief minister who has blood on his hands. When bullets are flying in Nandigram, how can Buddhababu talk about discussions' He will have to punish those responsible for the Nandigram killings and then appeal for talks,’’ Mamata had then said.

Although none has been punished till date, Mamata announced today she wouldn’t mind being part of an all-party discussion that would witness Bhattacharjee’s participation.

In another climbdown, Mamata said an all-party meet convened by Ghosh would suffice if governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi cannot call one. She had earlier demanded that the meeting be called by the governor.

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