The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata cry for 356

Calcutta, April 29: Mamata Banerjee today reiterated her demand for “immediate Central intervention” to counter what she described as “state-sponsored violence unleashed” by the CPM in rural Bengal.

“The lawlessness in the villages where the CPM activists have been terrorising candidates from the Opposition parties and the Left Front constituents warrants imposition of President’s rule (Article 356). I shall see to it that the Centre intervenes at the earliest in some way or the other by mounting a vigorous campaign across the country,” she said at a programme organised by the Calcutta Press Club.

The Trianmul chief said the Centre’s response to her “repeated allegations about unconstitutional activities” in the state was “quite positive”. “I am convinced that the Centre shares my concern over the prevailing lawlessness in Bengal. If the Congress backs the NDA government in promulgating President’s rule in the state, I shall see to it that it is imposed,” she said.

Union human resources development minister Murli Monahar Joshi and BJP national president Venkaiah Naidu had voiced protests against “the manner in which democratic rights of ordinary people are being trampled here” when they were in the city, Mamata reminded.

“I have also drawn deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s attention to the state’s deteriorating law and order.”

Dismissing state Congress president Pranab Mukherjee’s observation that the situation did not call for the imposition of President’s rule, Mamata said: “Pranabda and the Congress leaders cannot speak against the CPM as the party is hand-in-glove with the communists.”

Incensed by yesterday’s incident in which CPM state secretary Anil Biswas’ convoy went past her’s at Sugandhya More on Delhi Road in Hooghly, Mamata said: “This is a clear example of the CPM’s high-handed attitude towards Opposition parties. I believe Biswas did it deliberately to heckle me and I have asked local MP Akbar Ali Khondakar to lodge a complaint with the police against the CPM chief.”

Mamata urged the front constituents, and the Congress, to voice a “united protest” against the CPM’s terror tactics. “These days, minor front partners like the RSP, the Forward Bloc and the CPI have started accusing the Big Brother of letting loose atrocities on their candidates and supporters. Even ministers are not spared. The coming together of those being heckled or tortured by the CPM is a political necessity,” she said.

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