West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, under attack from the ruling communists for his indictment of the state government on the Nandigram situation, on Monday met veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu and reposed faith in his efforts to bring peace in the clash-ridden region.
Emerging out of Indira Bhavan, Basu's residence in Salt Lake here, Gandhi said: "I appealed to Joyti Basu to resume the efforts for peace, confidence and security in West Bengal as he played a great role in restoring confidence earlier."
Asked why he met Basu and not Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Gandhi said: "I will discuss with the chief minister also."
Gandhi on Friday termed the manner in which villages in Nandigram were 'recaptured' by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) as "unlawful and unacceptable", prompting the party to react, terming him "partial".
The governor has raised quite a few eyebrows in the ruling circles for his sympathy with opposition Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee and social activists like Medha Patkar on their Nandigram and Singur tirades.
"The ardour of Deepavali has been dampened in the whole state by the events in Nandigram. Several villages in Nandigram are oscillating from deepest gloom to panic," Gandhi said in a nearly 700-word statement.
Violence in Nandigram has claimed 34 lives since January, when the region flared up over proposed land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ). The state government scrapped the plan later in the face of stiff resistance.
However, a turf battle continues in Nandigram between the CPI-M and a villagers' group in the run-up to local body elections in May next year.