Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee claimed on Wednesday that she had been able to persuade a “section of Naxal leaders” to abjure violence and join the political mainstream.
Banerjee said these former Naxalites had been campaigning for her party.
“Some Naxalite leaders have joined the TMC, while some have remained in touch with me since the violence at Singur,” she said.
“It is not enough to condemn and criticise the Naxals. It is important to understand their mind and to provide an opportunity to them to embrace the democratic process,” Banerjee said in an interaction with the media.
Claiming that the TMC had initiated this process in national interest, she said, “Naxalite leaders such as Purnendu Bose, Dula Sen and Pradeep Banerjee have left the path of violence. Others are also coming back.”
Laying stress on the political difference between Naxalites, who carried on the tradition of the Naxalbari uprising in 1967 in West Bengal, and the present-day CPI (Maoist), which is only a five-year-old outfit after the merger of some Naxalite factions, Banerjee said, “Maoists and Marxists mean the same thing. They are two-in-one.”
She also countered CPI(M)’s allegations that the TMC had links with Maoists. She said her party had information that senior CPI(M) leaders held a series of meetings with Maoist leaders from Nepal at an undisclosed destination on the West Bengal-Jharkhand border between November 8 and 11.
Banerjee described the TMC performance in the recent by-elections as a victory of the people. She said, “It is absolutely clear now that the people in West Bengal want to be liberated from the 30-year misrule and reign of terror of the CPI(M).”