The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul separation on eve of carve-up

Calcutta, Sept 30: A day before Eastern Railway’s formal bifurcation, Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee today virtually closed her party’s door on the National Democratic Alliance, saying “we have exhausted all our options over the issue”.

Mamata said her party’s working committee would meet after Durga Puja to review the situation and adopt a new strategy vis-à-vis the Centre.

The Trinamul leader had shared a platform with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha at Dhanbad yesterday to protest against railway minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to carve out Dhanbad from Eastern Railway and include it in the newly-created East-Central Railway with headquarters at Hajipur.

“We resorted to all kinds of protests to stall the bifurcation and expected some kind of concession from the Centre. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister, who could intervene in the Cauvery water dispute and held an all-party meeting over the issue, did nothing to prevent injustice to the people of West Bengal,” she said.

The Trinamul leader could barely conceal her feelings towards the BJP leadership for allowing Kumar to go ahead with the bifurcation. “Perhaps, they did not like our stand regarding communalism. When they were in trouble, they sought our party’s support. But when they are well-saddled in power, they are trying to humiliate us in every possible manner. We will not accept all this lying low and intend to fight back,” she said.

Mamata described the decision to split Eastern Railway as essentially a “political decision which will not benefit the people in any way”. “The decision has been taken by the railway minister with an eye on the Bihar Assembly polls next year and not in the interest of the railway or railway passengers. Instead of applying his mind to maintenance and passenger safety and security, he has gone ahead with the bifurcation with a political motive,” she said.

Mamata said her party would observe tomorrow as a “black day” all over the state and organise black-flag demonstrations at different places. She also pulled up the ruling Marxists and state BJP leaders for their “inability to launch a protest against the bifurcation” and alleged that the two parties have reached a “secret entente over the issue”.

The CPM will also organise protests at all important railway stations in the state tomorrow to oppose the bifurcation, said Left Front chairman Biman Bose. However, no other constituents of the Left Front — like the CPI, the RSP and the Forward Bloc — have lined up any demonstration tomorrow.

But the CPM would not organise any rail roko, Bose said while addressing a gathering organised by the Left Front this evening. The gathering was to express solidarity with the Tripura government, which is facing difficulty in running the administration because of separatist movements in the state.

Sources said the CPM does not intend to go in for an intensified movement on the bifurcation. It is learnt that the Left Front has given up the idea of taking up the issue seriously because it is convinced it will not be possible to stall the carve-up by organising movements in Bengal alone.

The CPM politburo and central committee which will meet in Calcutta on October 11 and 12 are likely to discuss the issue. But it is unlikely that the central leadership will concentrate on the issue any longer, considering its strength in other states.

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