Peace brokers spar before meet

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By OUR BUREAU in Calcutta
  • Published 23.05.07

Calcutta, May 23: The CPM and Mamata Banerjee’s conflicting approaches to the Nandigram violence have clouded the peace initiative on the eve of the all-party meeting.

Mamata will “decide” tomorrow whether she or someone else will represent the Trinamul Congress.

The CPM will send state secretariat members Madan Ghosh and Shyamal Chakraborty and transport minister Subhas Chakraborty to Mahajati Sadan for the meeting beginning at 3 pm.

The inclusion of Subhas, a cabinet minister, will ensure some sort of an administrative role in what is essentially a political gathering. Mamata should not be too unhappy, given her rapport with Subhas.

While Mamata wants to focus on the March 14 “massacre” and punishment to those involved in the police firing, the CPM is insisting that the meeting should take into account all incidents of violence in Nandigram since January 3.

After a Save Farmland Committee meeting today, the Trinamul chief said: “What will be the relevance of the meeting if the massacre and the punishment of those involved in the firing are not discussed?”

She added that Forward Bloc secretary Ashok Ghosh, who has convened the meeting, had assured her that “all aspects would be discussed with an open mind”.

Ghosh confirmed that the CPM’s big three — state secretary Biman Bose, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and patriarch Jyoti Basu — won’t attend the meeting. “I still feel the presence of the top leaders is required,’’ he said.

Asked about the chief minister’s absence, Mamata said: “Buddhababu would have been embarrassed.”

Front sources said the Bloc, RSP and the CPI would not describe the killings as “genocide” even if Mamata insists.

“If Trinamul agrees to condemn all the violence in Nandigram since January 3, we have no objection in condemning the March 14 police firing,’’ CPM state secretariat member Benoy Konar said.

The CPM will seek action against all those who looted its supporters’ houses, set them ablaze and rendered people homeless, if Mamata demands punishment for those responsible for the March 14 killings.

The suspected Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporters who killed sub-inspector Sadhucharan Chatterjee when he went to a village on a probe will also have to be punished, Konar added.

The CPM wants compensation for all victims of the land war and not just the police firing, which Mamata has been insisting on.

Trinamul ally BJP complained to Ghosh on being left out — only parties with representation in the Assembly have been called to the meeting.

“I had absolutely no role in it,” said Mamata.

In Nandigram, Pratirodh Committee and CPM supporters today accused each other of launching fresh attacks.