Confusion ran high even hours before the all-party meeting on Nandigram with the SUCI refusing to attend it, the BJP planning a demonstration and the Bhumi Uchhed Protirodh Committee (BUPC) planning to launch an agitation raising doubts over the outcome of the crucial meet.
To add to this, the CPI(M) finally decided not to send state secretary Biman Bose to the meeting. The Marxist party will be represented by central committee member Shyamal Chakraborty, transport minister Subhas Chakraborty and state secretariat member Madan Ghosh.
As a counter strategy, Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee kept her option open whether she would personally attend the meeting.
This, she said, would be decided only on Thursday morning, she said. Party insiders, however, did not rule out her presence.
Mamata said her party would demand that the March 14 police firing in Nandigram in which 14 people died be described as genocide. Also, the culprits should be punished, CBI inquiry should continue and compensation should be paid to those affected. She, however, denied charges that she had been instrumental in not inviting the BUPC for the meet.
BUPC leader Siddiqualla Chowdhury, who has been spearheading the agitation in Nandigram, meanwhile, threatened that the struggle would continue irrespective of the decisions of the peace meeting. "Our demand is resignation of the chief minister and scraping of the SEZ Act. Till these demands are met, our agitation will continue," he said.
The SUCI called a press conference on Wednesday to say that the meeting would fail to achieve any fruitful result because BUPC, the main force leading the agitation in Nandigram, was not invited.
"The BUPC and also the intellectuals, who had taken a critical view of the police action, should have been invited. This meeting is being held to bail out the CPI(M) before the panchayat polls. The culprits have not been punished and the agitators still have false cases against them. Our agitation will continue," SUCI state secretary Probhash Ghosh said.
The CPI(ML) Liberation, which was initially invited to attend the meeting but was left out at the last moment, also threatened an agitation and called a rally at Shahid Minar on Friday to demand resignation of Chief Minister Budhadeb Bhattacharjee over the Nandigram issue.
BJP State General Secretary Rahul Sinha said his party would demonstrate in front of Mahajati Sadan where the all-party meeting would be held for the Left Front's refusal to invite it for talks.
The CPI(M), however, would rule out immediate punishment saying that the culprits must first have to be identified by the court as well as by the ongoing administrative inquiry. The party would also argue that the CBI inquiry had been halted by the Calcutta High Court and not by the state government.
Front insiders said that Forward Bloc state secretary Ashok Ghosh, who has taken the initiative to broker peace and would preside over the meeting, was not aiming big but would merely try to issue a consensus statement calling for restoration of normalcy in the violence torn area.