Calcutta, June 21: Mamata Banerjee today asked the Centre not to take decisions after consulting only the CPM which she described as more dangerous than a cobra.
The comment — Mamata also took care to say she wanted to strengthen the alliance with the Congress — is being seen as an expression of unhappiness with the Centre for giving the go-ahead to the Lalgarh operation on the basis of information provided by the state government alone.
I am against breaking the alliance with the Congress. Instead, I want to continue and rather strengthen it. But at the same time, I would request the Centre not to take decisions solely consulting the CPM. Dont trust the CPM because it is more dangerous than a poisonous cobra, Mamata told Trinamul Congress workers in south Calcutta.
We were not consulted on Mission Lalgarh. But one should keep in mind that we have 20 MPs from Bengal in the coalition, Mamata said.
Mamatadi today for the first time sent a message to the Congress that she was hurt at the way the party solely took the CPM into confidence on Lalgarh without consulting her, said Trinamul state president Subrata Bakshi.
A senior AICC leader from Delhi, however, claimed that senior Congress leaders like Bengal Congress president Pranab Mukherjee and AICC general secretary K. Keshava Rao were in constant touch with Mamataji.
A few hours before Mamata spoke, Left MPs had complained to the Prime Minister that some of her ministers of state were proceeding to visit the affected areas and making public statements which are adversely complicating the operations against the Maoists in Lalgarh.
In a letter to Manmohan Singh, the MPs like Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, Mohammed Amin, Basudev Acharya and Shyamal Chakraborty sought his personal intervention to ensure that the joint operations against the Maoists are not adversely complicated by utterances and actions of some members of the Union council of ministers as reported by the media.
Home minister P. Chidambaram issued an appeal to politicians and NGOs to stay away from the area but sources said it was issued before the Left letter had reached the Centre.
Mamata said the CPM prevented two ministers from visiting the affected people of Salboni for relief distribution. CPM cadres today held our two ministers of state — Sisir Adhikari and Mukul Roy — hostage for several hours at Salboni when they had gone to distribute relief to some people. If central ministers are subjected to such humiliation, imagine what an ordeal common people are undergoing, she said.
Bikash Ukil, the CPMs Sijua local committee secretary, said some villagers protested for two hours for showing sympathy towards the Maoists.
The Trinamul Congress chief also slammed the Centre for not launching an offensive against the CPMs harmad bahini (armed cadres) for stockpiling arms in Arambagh, Garbeta, Salboni and Keshpur.
Mamata said she was not opposed to an offensive against the Maoists. But I fear the CPM would kill innocents.