Maoist leader invites Mamata to jungle hideout
Nine days after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee invited Maoists for dialogue, the Maoists on Monday invited Banerjee to their jungle hideouts without any security personnel.
At a public rally on January 15 at Jhargram, about 160 km west of Kolkata, Banerjee asked the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) to shun violence and name their interlocutor in seven days for beginning a dialogue process.
Banerjee offered development projects if the Maoists abjure violence. Banerjee’s rally was the first by any leader in Bengal’s Maoist-dominated area.
On Monday, Koteshwar Rao, alias Kishenji, Maoist politburo member, sent a four-page open letter, confirming the Maoists’ intention to begin talks with the establishment. But he said quitting armed struggle could not be a condition for negotiations.
He said, “Talks can only be held on the ground that all the prisoners are released, the combined force withdrawn and talks with the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities start at the government level.”
“We don’t want to hurry. The problem was not created in a single day and can’t be solved so fast,” said Purnendu Bose, whom Banerjee assigned to deal with the Maoists.
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- The opposition leader is also scheduled to meet senior TMC minister Firhad Hakim and hold talks about the upcoming Bengal polls.
- TMC and BJP have dismissed the Left rally as insignificant. While the TMC claims CM Mamata Banerjee will return to power for the third time, BJP says the elections are bi-polar and there is no space for the Left.
- The BJP lodged a complaint in the Phoolbagan police station. Senior BJP leaders of the state rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
- The TMC asked the EC why the polls could not be held in fewer phases.
- She alleged that the poll panel scheduled the election dates keeping in mind the BJP’s demands.
- The CBI earlier questioned Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee in the case.
- Besides rallies, the chief minister’s itinerary could include religious stopovers at important places of worship.
- "Modi government only makes false promises, has done nothing to bring down fuel prices," PTI quoted the Bengal chief minister as saying.