The BJP demanded President’s rule in West Bengal amid intermittent cries of “shame” as rhetoric and emotional appeals underlined the debate on Nandigram in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. The debate will continue on Friday.
The Opposition, CPM and UPA traded allegations and counter-allegations throughout the day. The BJP’s Sushma Swaraj, who initiated the debate, said the Centre should impose President’s rule in Bengal. “We are discussing Nandigram in the context of SEZs but the context should be whether agricultural land should be used for industry. If farmers protest against it, should violence be used to push them back and kill them,” the MP asked.
Dubbing the CPM “kindergarten revolutionaries”, Swaraj said they had “neither truth nor reason on their side”. She referred to CPM MP Sitaram Yechury’s open letter on Nandigram as “a bundle of lies”.
Swaraj said a resolution condemning the incidents in Nandigram should come from the House chairman and be passed unanimously. “I want to know from the home minister whether he endorses the action of the party cadre. Will all parties be allowed to do that,” she asked.
Yechury, for his part, said the people killed in the violence also included CPM cadres. “We condemn the violence. The incidents shouldn’t have happened.” He said the state government had asked for the CRPF on October 27 “but they got there only on November 12”, adding that things would have been different had the troops been sent in earlier. He also accused the BJP and Trinamool Congress of forming an unholy nexus with Maosists to destabilise an elected government.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.R. Dasmunsi said nothing would’ve happened if the state had acted after the violence in January and March and rounded up those responsible. “Parties will come and go but the dignity of women (who were raped) cannot be returned,” he said.