The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata shifts to people plank from Centre

Basapara (Nanoor), July 27: Mamata Banerjee today toed the line prescribed by deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and called for a political movement to oust the communists from power.

There was no mention of her oft-repeated demand for president’s rule in the state when she addressed a rally in this Birbhum town to commemorate the “killing of 11 land-less peasants”.

“We will start a political movement to highlight the CPM’s misdeeds and create a public opinion against the Marxists, which will ultimately lead to their ouster,” Mamata said.

There was furore over the deaths of 11 Trinamul Congress supporters at the hands of alleged CPM cadre in 2000. Then chief minister Jyoti Basu had taken strong exception to the visit of two officials from the US consulate to the massacre site. The members of the team had talked to government officials posted there to take stock of the situation, much to the CPM’s displeasure.

Mamata, who has been demanding central rule, took the U-turn apparently after defence minister and NDA convener George Fernandes ruled out the possibility of clamping Article 356 “as the coalition (the NDA) did not have the requisite strength in the Upper House”. Fernandes was in Calcutta last week to address a Trinamul rally at Esplanade.

Three weeks ago, Advani, who also holds charge of the home portfolio, had advised the Trinamul chief to give up the idea of President’s rule and, instead, concentrate on building up her “own ground” to fight the CPM.

“You should emulate the NDA, which was able to dethrone the Congress from many states by mobilising a series of people’s movements across the country,” he told her.

Mamata today announced the party would organise a rally at the Brigade Parade Ground in December as part of her “sustained programme” against the communists. Trinamul would embark on a four-month movement from August, which will “include violation of law”, and will culminate in the rally, she said.

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