Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said she would request Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop the anti-Maoist joint operation in West Bengal as the state's ruling Left Front was using this to regain its politcal turf in the affected areas.
"I will meet the prime minister and appeal to him. He is a good man. I hope he will listen to me," Banerjee said while addressing a mammoth Trinamool rally in the city hub.
She alleged that the state's ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) was utilising the joint operation in three Maoist-hit districts to regain its political turf in the area.
"I request the central government to stop the joint operation. The CPI-M is fulfilling its own political agenda by using the presence of the joint forces. In the name of the joint operations, policemen and tribal men and women are being murdered. We are not going to tolerate this," she said.
Banerjee accused CPI-M ministers of opening arms camps in the Maoist-infested areas. "I ask the CPI-M leaders whether they have opened arms camps at places like Goaltore and Salboni (of West Midnapore district)? If they can prove that I am lying, I will send my resignation from the railways ministry to them," she said.
On June 18 last year, central paramilitary troopers and crack units of the West Bengal Police launched a joint anti-Maoist campaign aimed at freeing Lalgarh and its surrounding areas in West Midnapore district from the Left-wing rebels. In the second stage, the operation has been expanded to two other districts of Bankura and Purulia.
The Trinamool Congress, the second largest partner in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) central government, has been staunchly opposing the joint operation from the outset.
Banerjee also announced that her party would take out a march to Lalgarh Aug 9, urging people to oust the CPI-M led Left Front and appeal for restoration of peace.