|An ambulance brought by the Trinamul Congress and (below) another belonging to Calcutta police wait at Mamata’s fast site. Picture by Amit Datta
Calcutta/New Delhi, Dec. 27: The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance today demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tell Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to “get off his high horse” and recognise the “explosive” situation caused by the Singur controversy.
NDA leaders gathered at Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s residence this morning to join Mamata Banerjee in demanding that the Tata Motors project be shifted from Singur.
They compared the Centre’s indifference to Mamata’s fast with the government’s intervention when Medha Patkar was on a fast protesting against raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat.
“The NDA notes with dismay the double standards of the Union government…. Why are they silent now when our esteemed colleague in Bengal is protesting'” the NDA said.
Singh, who had earlier sent emissary Priya Ranjan Das Munshi to Mamata to request her to call off her fast, today instructed the central authorities to extend medical care to her in view of her deteriorating health.
The Eastern Command hospital in Calcutta has been told to offer whatever medical assistance Mamata requires, his office said.
The Trinamul leader, into her 24th day of fast, has refused to accept the state government’s medical help.
Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi visited her again today to request her to call off the fast. While she thanked the governor for his concern for her health, Mamata declined to stop the fast.
Trinamul leader Mukul Roy said Vajpayee had called to enquire after her health.
The NDA leaders blamed the “arrogant and insensitive” CPM, demanding that the Prime Minister intervene on behalf of farmers. They threatened the Centre and the state government with “dire consequences” if anything happened to Mamata.
“The entire country is worried about her. The Bengal government needs to take urgent steps to save her life,” the NDA statement said.
In Siliguri, the chief minister said: “I have repeatedly appealed to the Opposition leader withdraw her hunger strike and sit for talks.”
Industries minister Nirupam Sen said despite several attempts made by the CPM and the chief minister, Mamata was refusing to hold talks.
Speaking at a public meeting, Bhattacharjee was conciliatory but, at the same time, firm. “We, at least, do not need lessons in agricultural development from Mamata Banerjee,” he said.