The all party meeting convened to bring peace at the trouble-torn Nandigram ended in a damp squib, when Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee walked out of the meeting over a remark by a CPI(M) minister.
The meeting was into its second hour when Mamata repeatedly raised her demand to punish police officials who had ordered the firing resulting in the death of 14 people in March. She also wanted the meeting to brand the killings as “genocide”.
Reacting to Mamata’s statements, CPI(M) representative for the meeting and state transport minister Subhas Chakrabarty said that the police were provoked to open fire after being attacked. “I cannot stay in this meeting after this remark,” Mamata said before rushing out of the venue keeping the other participants dumb founded.
Asok Ghosh, state secretary of Forward Bloc, who took a lead in organising the meeting, said "It is evident that more
talks are required to resolved certain issues. We will hold similar meetings like this in the future.”
Interestingly, Mamata did not sign the attendance register for the meeting fuelling speculations that the walkout was pre-planned.
The meeting itself had become controversial after the State Jamiat Ulema, which took an active part in the Nandigram agitation, was not invited.
Its leader, Siddiqulla Chowdhury, said on Thursday that the meeting had no relevance without Jamiat’s participation. He also threatened that the struggle would continue irrespective of the decisions of the peace meting.
“Our demand is resignation of the chief minister and scraping of the SEZ Act. Till these demands are met, our agitation will continue,” he said.
The CPI(ML) Liberation, which was initially invited to attend the meeting but was left out at the last moment, also threatened an agitation and called a rally at Shahid Minar on Friday to demand resignation of the Chief Minister Budhadeb Bhattacharjee over the Nandigram issue.
The BJP which was also left out of the meeting demonstrated near the venue at Mahajati Sadan in central Kolkata.