Left Front leaders to meet Mamata on Nandigram
Veteran Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh will meet Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday to work out an acceptable peace formula to restore normalcy in violence-ridden Nandigram. This will be the first such meeting between any Front leader and Mamata ever since her rise in Bengal politics almost two decades ago.
Ghosh called Mamata over the telephone on Friday saying that he wanted to visit her house at Kalighat to discuss the peace process in Nandigram. “You are senior to me in age. It doesn’t look good if you come to my house. Rather I will visit your party office tomorrow,” Mamata said.
Ghosh also discussed the draft peace resolution, designed by the CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc, with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose during the day.
Forward Bloc insiders said that while the chief minister endorsed the draft resolution, Bose did not commit himself. The resolution condemned the police firing in Nandigram on March 14 but did not describe the incident in which 14 people died as genocide as demanded by Mamata. The resolution, however, demanded punishment for culprits involved in the killings – yet another demand by raised by Mamata.
Ghosh later told reporters that the crucial all-party peace meeting could be held either between May 22 and May 24 or between May 28 and May 30. The parties to be invited to attend the meeting would also be decided after his discussion with Mamata and Biman he said.
At the state secretariat meeting of the CPI(M) held earlier in the day, the party failed to decide which leader should be sent to attend the all-party meet. CPI(M) central committee member Benoy Konar said that the CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc were succumbing to Mamata’s pressure and the Marxist party was losing the political initiative in the peace process and was tailing the smaller allies.
Left Front leaders kept their fingers crossed over the outcome of the all-party meeting hoping that the CPI(M) would send either Biman or the chief minister or both and Jyoti Basu to make the meeting fruitful. The Forward Bloc leader demanded a Left Front meeting before the all-party peace meeting to ensure that senior CPI(M) leaders were present in it.
At its state secretariat meeting, the CPI(M) also decided to tackle Mamata’s demand for punishment of the culprits responsible for deaths in Nandigram by saying that when the case was being heard by the Kolkata High Court, the government should wait for its verdict before initiating proceedings against those responsible for the deaths.
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