Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishanji has telephoned the leaders of Communist Part of India (CPI), Forward Bloc (FB) and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) urging them to demand withdrawal of combined forces from Lalgarh, the Maoist hotbed in western Bengal.
The 51-year old politburo member of the banned Communist Part of India (Maoist) recently called CPI general secretary Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan, 83 and RSP leader and Bengal public works department minister Kshiti Goswami seeking their support to withdraw forces from the troubled zone about 200 kms to the west of Kolkata.
“I spoke with him for about two minutes. He argued with me and said we should stand by their demand of withdrawing the combined forces from areas where they have been influential. I directly told him that we do not agree with their politics,” Bardhan told HT on Thursday.
“Killings and talks cannot go on simultaneously,” Goswami told HT after admitting that the Maoist leader had indeed called him. The minister, however, is not in favour of withdrawing the Centre-State joint focres right now.
“He had telephoned me and urged me to raise my voice against the combined force’s operation in Lalgarh. But I told him that I was none to personally comment on such issues,” Goswami said.
The RSP leader in his mid sixties had been vocal in his opposition to the slapping of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against leaders of the Lalgarh movement in particular and in Bengal in general.
According to Kishanji, he had called these leaders in the past one month.
The Maoist leader also claimed to have spoken to Ashoke Ghosh the 84-year old Bengal state secretary of FB.
Though Ghosh could not be contacted, Kishanji said he called Ghosh as the FB didn’t treat Maoists as “class enemies and has mentioned it in their documents.” “Therefore, why should we have any problem in seeking their support for a peoples’ movement,” asked Kishanji.
“There can be issue-based understandings with any party which stand by people’s cause. We had sent almost one lakh supporters in a rally organised in Bastar in 2006 by the CPI against the Salwa Judum because it was a progressive stand by the CPI,” revealed Kishanji.
The Maoist leader had also called some Jharkhand party leaders of Bengal. But on Trinamool Congress his take was different.
“Though we welcome Mamata Banerjee’s latest statement that she demands immediate withdrawal of the combined forces, we never tried to get in touch with her. Trinamool leaders have been changing their initial pro-people stand since they joined the government in Delhi,” said Kishanji.
Incidentally, Kishanji had said he had telephoned Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The 64-year old CPI(M) leader, however, called that claim “a lie”.