The highly publicised spat between the Left and home minister, P Chidambaram opened another front with West Bengal CM, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee responding to Chidambaram's letter, terming it "a fitting reply".
The West Bengal CM shot back at Chidambaram, accusing him of towing Mamata Banerjee's line and questioning his assessment of the state's law and order situation. Claiming that Chidambaram's letter was politically motivated, "surprising and far from impartial", Buddhadeb, instead placed the blame squarely on the Trinamool, alleging non co-operation in dealing with the deteriorating law and order stituation in the run up to the state assembly elections.
Chidambaram had written to the the CM on December 24, in which he was extremely critical of the ongoing violence, use of cetral paramilitray forces and the arming of local cadres in the state. In a curious twist, the letter was made available to the media before reaching Buddhadeb.
The CM has now taken the issue head on. This is the text of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's reply.
Dear Sri Chidambaram,
Kindly refer to your secret letter dated 21/22 December, 2010 which had been published in the media before it reached my office on 27.12.2010 at 11 AM.
Your assessment of the situation in the State of West Bengal is surprising and is far from an impartial overview of the situation. Maoists have spread from across the bordering states and with the help of a small section of the local people are creating problems mostly in 28 police stations in three districts of West Bengal. They are trying to create their own area of dominance. They are indiscriminately killing political opponents and even innocent people. They are attacking police stations, police camps and looting arms. They are also engaged in large-scale extortion and also other unlawful activities.
You are fully aware of these activities of the Maoists. The greatest challenge is how to contain the Maoists and defeat them finally both administratively and politically.
In recent times States and Central Police through their joint efforts have achieved major success. Peace and normalcy have been restored in vast areas. People who were evicted earlier are going back to their home. Govt./ Panchayat offices are functioning normally and so are the schools, market and shop. Life is gradually coming back to normalcy in these areas but still we have problems in the areas bordering our state. Trinamool Congress, which was earlier maintaining secret contacts with the Maoist leaders and outfits are now openly organizing meetings with them.
CPI(M) and its allies are trying their best to resist the Maoists by mobilizing people against them and in the process they have lost more than 170 of their workers and leaders. Unfortunately, you are now blaming them for the present state of affairs. I am afraid it will divert the attention of all concerned who are struggling against Maoists, the greatest threat to our internal security.
As regards political clashes mentioned in your letter, I would like to correct your figures. 32 Trinamool Congress supporters have been killed and 601 have suffered injuries, while CPI(M) have lost 69 of their cadres and another 723 have been injured. Indian National Congress has lost one of their supporters and 111 have been injured during the period mentioned in your letter. I, however, agree that it is not a happy situation and I am trying my best to stop these senseless killings. I have repeatedly appealed to all the opposition parties to co-operate. All the parties except Trinamool Congress have come forward to cooperate. Trinamool Congress has refused to talk to the administration. I am trying to disarm and demobilize all armed groups engaged in violence in some pockets in the state.
I strongly object to your using the word “Harmad” to mean the CPI(M) party workers without knowing the actual meaning of this nasty word coined by the Trinamool Congress leaders.
More when we meet,