Calcutta, Dec. 5: Mamata Banerjee today turned down chief minister Buddhadeb Bhat- tacharjee’s appeal to call off her hunger strike.
“He (Bhattacharjee) is responsible for my going on hunger strike,” Mamata said this evening, at her sit-in camp in Esplanade. “Bengal is burning because of him and I will not listen to him.”
Instead, Mamata asked for the imposition of President’s rule in the state “as the government here is bent on curbing the democratic rights of the people”.
“The Centre can’t keep mum and should immediately intervene to stop acquisition of farmland in Singur,” Mamata said. “The UPA government should not just sit back and relax because it enjoys the CPM’s support in Delhi.”
NDA convener George Fernandes met Mamata and expressed solidarity with her fight for Singur. “It is unfortunate that the CPM is pursuing this policy of grabbing fertile land and it is (also) happening in some (other) parts of the country. The Opposition should fight tooth and nail. One has to note that the Bengal Congress is offering clandestine support to the CPM,” Fernandes said.
During the day, the chief minister spoke to activist Medha Patkar, who has also been campaigning against the land acquisition in Singur, though not from the same platform as Mamata.
“Medha had called me up. I told her I am willing to discuss any issue with her but I cannot let her go to Singur,” Bhattacharjee said.
Medha reportedly asked the chief minister to visit Singur to “see the ground reality there”.
Left Front chairman Bi- man Bose said this evening: “Who is she (Medha) to ask the chief minister to visit Singur' It is better that she meets him for a discussion.”
Bose ridiculed Mamata’s decision to go on a fast. “Mamata may continue her fast for another day as it is good for her health. But I suggest that she fast for not more than two days as she may catch a cold and suffer from fever in winter. She should respond to the chief minister’s appeal and meet him,” he said.
Bose also accused Medha, once counted among the Left’s natural allies by the CPM brass, of serving “imperialist interests”.
“We don’t find any differ- ence between her campaign and imperialist plans to sabotage industrialisation in deve- loping countries. If she is so concerned for farmers, she should stand by debt-ridden farmers in Vidarbha where they are committing suicide.”
The 44 people arrested for attacking the police in Singur on Saturday filed bail petitions before Calcutta High Court today.