The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM offer spurned

Calcutta, Feb. 8: The Trinamul Congress today rejected the chief minister’s offer of talks on land acquisition, saying they could be held only after the government returns land acquired in Singur and scraps notifications for using farmland for industry.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s letter, sent to leader of Opposition Partha Chatterjee this afternoon, stated that the government wants a “rational and peaceful solution” to the land controversy for the steady progress of the state.

The chief minister said he had sent a letter to Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee on December 28 requesting her for the talks. “However, I did not receive any reply to my letter. Moreover, a section of the Trinamul leadership has been telling the media that the government wasn’t interested in talks. I don’t know whether this is a fact….”

“If you have no problems, I am eager to discuss the state’s overall situation with you at a bilateral meeting at Writers’ Buildings on February 13 at 4.30 pm,’’ the chief minister said in his one-page letter.

Trinamul sources said Mamata is peeved that the letter had not been addressed to her.

“We can have a dialogue only if farmland acquired in Singur is returned and plans to acquire farmland in Nandigram and Bhangar are shelved. A reply is being sent. The reply has been drafted after consulting Mamata Banerjee,’’ said Chatterjee.

According to him, talks and farmland acquisition cannot continue simultaneously and the chief minister’s offer is only an effort to show people that he has given the Opposition a chance.

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