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CPM scraps front draft on truce talks

Calcutta, May 18: The CPM today rejected a draft resolution prepared by its allies for the all-party meeting on Nandigram.

The draft condemns the police firing on March 14 and demands punishment for those responsible for it and damages for the victims.

The CPM feels only a court can decide the punishment. “The all-party meeting or the Left Front cannot decide who the culprits were or what punishment they deserve. The court has to say whether the police firing was unjustified or an act of compulsion,” CPM state secretariat member Benoy Konar said after its meeting.

The secretariat vetoed the compensation because it felt it would be unfair to the relatives of those killed in Nandigram before or after March 14.

After the CPM rejected the draft, there were doubts among the allies over how Mamata Banerjee would react to it.

Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh called her up and wanted to meet her in her Kalighat house tomorrow.

Mamata said she will go to the Bloc office at 4 pm to spare the veteran leader the trouble.

Asked if she would demand a discussion on the deaths, Mamata said: “The massacre should top the agenda. Let’s see what Ashokbabu says.”

The seven-line draft prepared by the RSP, Forward Bloc and the CPI, however, does not describe the firing that led to 14 deaths as a “massacre”. It calls it “unfortunate”.

The allies said the word “unfortunate” had the chief minister’s concurrence.

But the allies tried to “accommodate” Mamata’s demand of “punishment for those responsible for the firing”.

The chief minister and his party had regretted the deaths, but they did not think the firing was “unprovoked”, as alleged by the Opposition as well as the CPM allies.

The allies’ draft has to be finalised in consultation with the CPM, Mamata and the state Congress brass.

Ghosh spoke to CPM state secretary and front chairman Biman Bose today, urging him to call a meeting of the allies for a “threadbare discussion”.

Asked about the rift in the front on the resolution, Ghosh denied the move to prepare the draft altogether. He added, though, that the allies do not share the CPM’s stand on the police firing and compensation.

Konar rejected the demand for compensation, saying: “It must then be given to the relatives of all the victims of violence in Nandigram since January 3.’’

The draft demands government funds to rebuild houses damaged in the violence.

The CPM is still sticking to its position that neither the chief minister nor the state party secretary need to attend the meeting. The party is also not in favour of Jyoti Basu attending it, which Ghosh earlier said was crucial.

“We are yet to decide who will represent our party. Responsible leaders would be authorised to go and take decisions on their own,” Konar said.

Ghosh said: “The top leaders of all the parties should attend the meeting so that decisions can be taken smoothly.”

The CPM, Konar said, was not bothered about whether Mamata was attending it or her representative.

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