After scuttling Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s plan to set up Special Economic Zone by forcibly acquiring lands from the farmers at Nandigram, Mamata Banerjee is now taking her battle right inside the CPI(M) bastion and their prized industrial belt – Haldia – where the Left Front government intends to set up more industries and possibly the coveted chemical hub in the coming days.
In a public rally, attended by more than a lakh of people, Mamata told the cheering crowds that she was shifting the venue of her public meeting from Brigade Grounds rally in the city on May 21 to Haldia, which is the stronghold of CPI(M) MP Lakshman Seth – Buddha’s man who is spearheading the industrial resurgence in the East Midnapore district.
Garchakraberia is the place that witnessed the first clash between the villagers and the CPI(M) cadres on January 7. On that day, the CPI(M) cadres attacked Garchakraberia at dawn from Khejuri.
The clash with the villagers left seven dead, of which three dead belonged to the Trinamool Congress. Since then, people had cut-off all roads, bridges and culverts to prevent the administration from entering the area. However, for the meeting the roads were temporarily repaired today.
Mamata’s announcement to go to Haldia, much to the CPI(M)’s discomfort, comes a day after the CM’s meeting there. “Instead of restoring peace in Nandigram, the CM held a rally sharing the stage with the leader of the March 14 Nandigram genocide Lakshman Seth. It seems he went to give a green signal to Seth to carry on such atrocious crimes for getting industries,” said Mamata.
Smelling that Buddha and Lakshman could be planning to set up the chemical hub at Haldia and the CM’s open directive to Seth to acquire lands for industries there has turned Mamata’s attention towards the port and industrial hub of Bengal.
This would be Mamata’s first meeting in Haldia after the formation of Trinamool Congress in 1998. “I am not leaving Nandigram, I am just spreading the anti-land grabbing agitation to tame the lion (read Seth) in his own den. I am sure a desperate CM would go on an unscrupulous drive to acquire lands forcibly from the poor farmers for industries. And I am not going to allow that,” Mamata told HT after the meeting.
Ridiculing Buddha for time and again calling peace meetings for restoring normalcy in Nandigram, Mamata said everyday CPI(M) cadres were firing guns and throwing bombs on the villages sharing border with Khejuri – the CPI(M) stronghold bordering Nandigram.
“If he is really interested to restore peace, why did he hold a public meeting at Haldia. Why not in Nandigram? Ever since trouble started in Nandigram from January 3, and even after the March 14 massacre that killed 14, the CM has not held any public meeting here. He has made no attempt to meet the people,” accused Mamata.
Assuring the people of Sonachura who were regularly being threatened by the CPI(M) goons from Khejuri, Mamata said soon she is going to hold a public meeting at Sonachura to help the people who have fled from their homes to come back.
But her next announcement was another shocker for the CPI(M). If her decision to go to Haldia came as a major blow to the mandarins on an industrial mode, Mamata’s announcement that she would hold public meetings in the CPI(M) stronghold Khejuri came as a rude shock. It is clear Mamata was taking the battle right into the enemy camps.
“More than 500 families have run away from Khejuri and are leaving in Sonachura Bazar. I want to go to Khejuri and checkout the strength of the CPI(M) there,” thundered Mamata. “I want to tell the CM, stop this violence or else people will retaliate hard.”