An aggressive BJP and the Left targeted Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee in Parliament for her rally at Lalgarh and and asked why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was silent on the Railway Minister’s ‘hobnobbing’ with Left-wing extremists.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said the Prime Minister had chosen to keep silent on various issues like Kashmir and Commonwealth Games. He said, “Silence, at times, can be a weapon of convenience, but conspiracy of silence cannot be allowed. The Prime Minister has termed the Maoists as the single greatest threat to internal security. All ministers are expected to follow the government policy as collective responsibility.”
He said Maoist leaders like Kishenji and Manoj Mahato had given a call to make the rally a success.
Jaitley said Ashish Mahato, said to be responsible for the Jnaneshwari Express train tragedy, was present in the rally.
When Union Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi interrupted him, Jaitely said it was more worrisome because the policies of the PM were being “negatived” by his junior minister.
Dissatisfied with the response of Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the BJP members staged a walk-out.
In Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the Government would “ascertain the position from the Railway Minister” before saying anything.
BJP Deputy Leader Gopinath Munde said in Lok Sabha asked, “Why is the Prime Minister silent? Will the Centre continue operations against Maoists after the Railway Minister’s statement that Operation Greenhunt will be stopped?”
Defending Banerjee, her party leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay justified her visit to the Maoist-affected Lalgarh, saying Home Minister P. Chidambaram too had visited the place last month. “She took the message of peace and harmony to the rally and she is totally opposed to violence ...”