It is not really surprising that even after the Centre banned the CPI (Maoist) on Monday, the CPI-M — at the receiving end of the rebels’ wrath in Lalgarh in West Midnapore district — seemed reluctant to acknowledge that a ban was the solution to the problem.
In fact, the party seemed opposed to the Centre’s move.
“Our stand in Bengal has been that Maoists have to be countered politically. We cannot do it with security and police measures.” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said in Delhi.
“We have to isolate them. Banning does not help because they will emerge in some other nomenclature.”
Karat’s statement virtually indicated opposition to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who sanctioned the ban.
In Kolkata too, Left Front chairman Biman Bose issued a statement: “We have to continue the process of isolating Maoists from the masses. We reviewed this issue in the past and concluded that official ban does not help counter an outfit with misguided political goals. It is necessary to counter them politically.”
Senior CPM, CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc leaders told Hindustan Times that Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had come under pressure from the Centre to ban Maoists in Bengal. But strategically, the Left Front did not favour a ban as it felt a ban would only make heroes of the Maoists and help them get closer to the people.
“We have to give it (the ban) serious thought,” Buddha had told the media in Delhi on Saturday after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram.
The chief minister might have led the world to believe wisdom had dawned on him after the siege of Lalgarh.
But the fact is that the CPM state secretariat had discussed the issue at an emergency meeting earlier this week, apparently realising that it would come under pressure from the Centre to follow in the footsteps of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, states that banned the CPI (Maoist) on their own.