Did West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee give his consent to the Centre’s decision to ban the Communist Party of India (Maoist)? Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal hinted that he had.
Speaking to reporters at Writer’s Building, the West Bengal secretariat, after his 35-minute meeting with Bhattacharjee, he said: “The Centre generally bans such outfits only after the state concerned strongly recommends it.”
The state has to declare that its security is threatened, and that the outfit is committing heinous crimes and killing innocent civilians, he said.
Then came the punchline: “But it is not necessary that this has to be in writing. It could be done orally also.”
This statement imply that Bhattacharjee had given his nod to the ban when he met Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi on Sunday.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat had opposed the ban and said the Maoists should be fought politically.
Since Monday, when the Centre banned the Maoists, Bhattacharjee has been trying to convince his Cabinet colleagues and Left Front partners that his hands are tied because in a federal set-up a central ban is applicable across the country.
The smaller Left Front partners like the RSP, Forward Bloc, CPI and Social Party are sceptical about the CM’s reported “helplessness”.
They have demanded a meeting of the Left Front to discuss “the Lalgarh issue as well as the chief minister’s ambiguous statements on the ban on CPI (Maoist).” The meeting will be held on Thursday or Friday.
“The chief minister has to come clean,” said a senior RSP leader.