Possibilities of bringing back peace in violence-torn Nandigram brightened further on Wednesday as chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee accepted Mamata Banerjee’s proposal that the state government must abide by all decisions taken by an all-party peace meeting to be chaired by veteran Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh and attended by the Trinamool Congress.
The dramatic development began on Tuesday evening with Mamata Banerjee calling up the Bloc leader to say that she would attend the peace meeting if it was called by him and if the government guaranteed that it would abide by the decisions arrived at the meeting.
On Wednesday morning, Ghosh talked to the chief minister over phone and informed him of the development. “I asked Buddha what I should do now. He said, when Mamata has given such a proposal, we should definitely accept it. He also said that the government would strictly abide by the decision of the peace meeting,” Ghosh said.
The veteran Bloc leader said he also discussed the matter with Left Front chairman Biman Bose. In the evening he met leaders of the CPI and the RSP in his office. “The Left Front has unanimously accepted Mamata’s proposal,” he told a hurriedly called press conference later. “I will chair the peace meeting and Jyoti Basu will be present,” he said.
The sudden development of Mamata warming up to the idea of attending peace meeting after boycotting several such offers from the CPI(M) and also from the chief minister for the past two months, elated the allies. “We did what the CPI(M) failed to do,” was the unanimous opinion of the CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc leaders. Significantly, the CPI(M) had initially turned a deaf ear to RSP’s suggestion given in the last Front meeting that Ashok Ghosh be allowed to chair the peace meting to ensure Mamata’s presence in it.
In the game of one upmanship, the CPI(M), however, threw up a little rider for its Left allies. The peace meeting should first be held in Nandigram under the district magistrate, Biman Bose told the Forward Bloc leader. The problem areas are to be identified in this meeting and possible solutions suggested, Biman said. Only then should the state-level peace meeting be held in Kolkata, which will be chaired by Ashok Ghosh and expected to be attended by Mamata, he insisted. The Trinamool has been avoiding such meetings called by the district magistrate.
Mamata, who went to Delhi during the day after being informed by the Forward Bloc leader that the chief minister agreed to her proposal, welcomed the development. She would be in Delhi for four days and would decide on the date of the peace meetings after returning to Kolkata, she but insisted again that the government must be sincere in implementing the decision of the peace meeting.