| A poster, saying “shame” to decry land acquisition, pasted by Trinamul in the Assembly. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Calcutta, July 26: Expressing regret if he hurt anyone, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today renewed an offer to hold talks with the Opposition to ensure “peace for development”.
The appeal — aimed at Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee though the chief minister did not mention her by name — came a day after the Haldia civic polls showed little change in voting preference despite the land row in Singur and Nandigram.
Bhattacharjee asked Trinamul to end its Assembly boycott, underscoring the need for “transparent and open relations” between the government and the Opposition.
Trinamul MLAs had stopped participating in House proceedings after the chief minister told leader of Opposition Partha Chatterjee on July 12 that he should respond to his telephone calls, initiate dialogue and not buckle under pressure from anybody (read Mamata).
“I did not mean to make a personal attack on Parthababu or any other Opposition leader. If they felt hurt, I am sorry. But I had called up Parthababu and Saugata Roy on several occasions to solve problems. We need to call each other and hold talks since I believe in democracy. The government and the Opposition should maintain transparent and open relations based on mutual respect and trust,” Bhattacharjee told the Assembly.
Trinamul, however, turned down the chief minister’s appeal, saying it was too late.
“We could have considered the chief minister’s request had it been made immediately after he insulted our party. I did not reveal what the chief minister told me about land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah. Moreover, his appeal has come when all important departmental budgets have been passed and only a few days are left in this session,” Chatterjee said.
“Buddhababu didn’t speak a word on the fact that people in Nandigram are yet to get justice and that farmers unwilling to give up land are yet to get their land back in Singur. Therefore, we stick to our stand,” he added.
In line with the chief minister’s appeal, the CPM is also trying to ensure a meeting between him and Mamata.
A party leader said Bhattacharjee was ready for an “honest bargain with Mamata on Singur and concede her some grounds”. “She won’t have to return empty-handed,” the leader, known to be close to Jyoti Basu, said.
Sources claimed that despite the refusals in public, informal contacts have been established.