Buddhadeb’s reply to Chidambaram arrogant, casual: Mamata

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

KOLKATA - Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Wednesday termed as “arrogant” West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s reply to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s letter, saying it had skipped the issues raised.

“The main issue raised by Chidambaram was the existence of armed camps of CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) cadres in the so-called Maoist areas. But Buddhadeb-babu has not replied to this. To suppress the main allegation, they have mentioned other issues,” Banerjee, who is also Union railway minister, told mediapersons here.

“The reply is very casual, while the home minister’s letter was serious stuff. Buddhadeb-babu has replied in a very arrogant tone,” she said.

“So they are raising issues like the letter being leaked to the media before it reached the chief minister and the use of the word harmad (hired killers)”.

“Harmad means a bandit. How else can you describe those who wield guns, kill people and violate modesty of women,” Bannerjee asked.

She said that the home minister had merely asked Bhattacharjee to carry out his rajdharma (duty). “The same was done in a letter from the union government to the Gujarat chief minister after the 2002 riots in that state.”

On CPI-M state secretary Biman Bose’s contention that only those who had been evicted earlier by the Maoists were being sheltered in the camps, Banerjee said: “If that be so, then how come stenguns and AK-47 rifles are stored in them?”

She said there were no Maoists in jangalmahal (forested stretches of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts where Maoists have strong bases). “All Maoists have been arrested. All killings are now been done at the directive of the state government”.

“Actually Buddhadeb-babu himself is the leader and friend of the Maoists,” she said.

Chidambaram’s letter had triggered a controversy with the state government and left parties seeking an explanation from him for the contents being allegedly leaked to the media before Bhattacharjee received the missive.

On Monday, an angry chief minister had accused Chidambaram of sending the letter to appease the Trinamool, a partner in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre.

Apart from objecting to the word “harmad”, the chief minister described the union minister’s assessment of the situation in the state as “surprising” and “far from impartial” in the one-page letter faxed to Chidambaram Tuesday. The document was released to the media here Wednesday.

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