Buddha treads middle path on Maoist ban
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is facing fresh attacks — this time from his own party and other Left Front constituents. Tapan Das and Tanmay Chatterjee report.kolkata Updated: Jun 24, 2009 00:29 IST
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is facing fresh attacks — this time from his own party and other Left Front constituents.
The issue: his allegedly ambiguous stand on banning the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The Centre on Monday declared the CPI(Maoist) a “terrorist organisation” and banned it under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
While Bhattacharjee put up a brave front by telling the media after a state cabinet meeting on Tuesday that though the central ban on the Maoists applied to Bengal as well, most Left Front partners opposed its enforcement in the state.
To make matters worse, the CPI-M central leadership, led by general secretary Prakash Karat, is pushing for engaging the Maoists politically rather than executing the ban.
Bhattacharjee sought a middle path, saying, “We retain the right to use the central law in our own way. We’ll decide when to use it, how to apply it and against whom to use it.”
On Monday evening, Karat and Front chairman Biman Bose had issued a statement on behalf of the Left coalition that the ban was not the solution.
Leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, a Front partner, Manoj Bhattacharya, said, “The government should apologise to the people and make up for its apathy. Instead of banning Maoists, the Left parties have to fight them politically.”
Bhattacharjee’s admission that P. Chidambaram hinted at the ban last week further complicated matters for him, as many of his cabinet colleagues now feel he gave silent consent to the Home Minister’s idea of imposing the ban to avoid dirtying his own hands.