CM thanks, Mamata fumes

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Calcutta
  • Published 18.09.08
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Calcutta, Sept. 17: The governor has done his “job” — Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee now wants Mamata Banerjee to deal directly with his government on the land standoff.

The signal to the Trinamul leader came at a news conference at Writers’ Buildings where the chief minister was asked if Gopalkrishna Gandhi would be requested to again mediate in the Singur impasse.

“I don’t think so,” he replied. “He has already done his job. I thank him for whatever he has already done.”

Mamata bristled at what she termed the chief minister’s “courage to insult the governor”.

“He has defamed the governor by saying he doesn’t want him to mediate,” she said. “Buddhababu’s government has lost the sanction to rule and it should go now.”

She said her party would apprise the governor of the developments and then decide on the future course of action. Mamata is expected to meet the governor on September 19 after he returns from Delhi.

“If the government exhibits force, our agitation will be intensified,” she warned. “Mind you Buddhababu,” she reminded the chief minister, “we haven’t withdrawn our movement, it has been merely suspended.”

Bhattacharjee said he had requested Ratan Tata to resume work in Singur and appealed to farmers who had given up land for the small-car project to accept compensation cheques.

“Yesterday, I had a talk with Ratan Tata. We have requested them to restart work… the situation is improving…. I appeal to those who have not accepted compensation cheques to take the money by September 22 as that would help create a congenial atmosphere.”

Asked how the Tatas had responded to his appeal, the chief minister said: “They are keeping a close watch… (and) told me they would take a timely decision.” He also asked the vendors to resume work.

He said he was “still confident” the Nano would roll out of Singur.

Mamata, however, insisted there was no change in the situation at Singur and claimed the CPM was “terrorising” farmers there.

Bhattacharjee said he was appealing to the “intelligence, reason and conscience” of the Trinamul chief to consider “our stand and help the car factory set foot in Bengal”.

He said there was still room for negotiation but added that the Trinamul leader, by “talking about separating ancillaries from the mother plant”, was “failing to understand the integrated character of the project”. He ridiculed allegations that wine shops and beauty parlours would come up on part of the land meant for ancillaries.

Bhattacharjee said the government had not discussed the possibility of offering 300 acres inside the project area and 100 acres outside when he met Mamata last week. “Their (Opposition’s) claim is not true and is without basis.”

But Mamata said if he didn’t “understand” the language of the agreement now, why did his government “sign” it at Raj Bhavan?