The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hope flickers on two fronts
Hint of Mamata land rethink

Calcutta, June 5: As Mamata Banerjee counts her gains af- ter yesterday’s meeting with Jyoti Basu, she is also weighing her options for a possible compromise on Singur .

Trinamul Congress sources said Mamata may be inclined to accept alternative “farmland” for landlosers in Singur.

Members of those families whose land has been acquired for the Tata Motors project should also get jobs in the plant, the Trinamul chief feels.

But she is in a fix on whether even Jyoti Basu’s intervention can make the government reverse its decision and return land to those who oppose the acquisition altogether, a party MLA said.

“Till date, Didi’s demand has been that their land be returned. But that appears a tall order and she has also realised it. So, she is working out the options that can emerge as a face-saver for her. She has told us that the government can, at least, offer alternative fertile plots in lieu of those taken away,’’ the MLA added.

Regarding Nandigram, the least Mamata expects is resumption of the CBI inquiry into the March 14 police firing.

She had earlier wanted the firing to be described as “ganahatya’’ — literally meaning mass killing, but more in the sense of a genocide in Mamata’s case.

A Trinamul functionary said that with the CPM firm on not dubbing the firing a “genocide”, Mamata is toying with the idea of settling for a “less intense’’ coinage. “But only if she is offered concessions in Singur,” he added.

The Trinamul leader had walked out of the May 24 all-party meeting protesting against the CPM’s opposition to including the word “genocide’’ in the draft resolution.

She also wants rehabili-tation of those driven out of their homes and chargesheets against the 10 suspected members of the CPM armed squad arrested from a Nandigram brick kiln.

Politically, Mamata has gained in the sense that she was invited to the talks table by Basu who, according to her, is “the CPM’s tallest leader in the country”.

“I was against attending any meeting called by the chief minister. But I readily agreed when the tallest CPM leader called me,” Mamata told party colleagues today.

Mamata thinks that this is the first time that she has been able to articulate her grievances to everyone who matters through Basu. The former chief minister followed up his meeting with Mamata by holding discussions with the chief minister, the industries minister and the state CPM secretary this evening.

“Jyotibabu’s seriousness is evident. Let’s see whether something positive emerges,” Mamata said.

She spoke to Abu Taher and Becharam Manna, the leaders of her movement in Nandigram and Singur, and sought updates on the situation there. The CPM patriarch had asked her for the latest last evening.

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