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W Bengal governor urges CM to talk to Mamata

CM Bhattacharya urged Banerjee to end her hunger strike, only to be met with a stinging rebuff.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 16:24 IST

Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, whose fast against a Tata car project in West Bengal entered its 19th day on Friday, got a morale-booster with Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi urging Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya to talk to her.

The governor met the chief minister on Thursday night and handed over documents prepared by the Trinamool Congress on the farmland in Singur taken over by the government for the project.

Bhattacharya assured Gandhi that the government would publish a list of Singur farmers who voluntarily gave up their land for the Tata project.

Gandhi placed a three-point formula calling for an immediate dialogue on the "balancing of land use for agriculture with land conversion for industry".

On Thursday, hordes of Trinamool Congressmen walked bare-chested through the streets of Kolkata offering an unprecedented spectacle in the ongoing protest against the acquisition of land in Singur.

Earlier, Bhattacharya had urged Banerjee to end her hunger strike, only to be met with a stinging rebuff.

A two-line letter sent to Banerjee by the chief minister urged her to withdraw her fast and come to the negotiating table.

"This letter is meaningless and without substance. We refuse him. This two-line letter is only another show of his arrogance. He is sending a two-line letter to a woman who is fasting for 18 days," Trinamool legislator Saugato Roy said.

Earlier on Thursday, Gandhi had called on Banerjee and urged her to end the protest.

This is the second time Gandhi has met Mamata at the protest venue in the city's Esplanade area.

Banerjee, who had called a 48-hour shutdown from Thursday over the killing of a girl in Singur, deferred the general strike keeping Christmas in mind.

However, she warned the Tatas against setting up the car project on the disputed land.