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NDA to move Kalam on Singur issue

Thursday 28 December 2006

Special Correspondent

"If anything unfortunate were to happen to Mamata, CPI (M) and Congress would be responsible"

NEW DELHI: Warning the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress that they would be "solely responsible" if anything "unfortunate" were to happen to fasting Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee, the National Democratic Alliance on Wednesday decided to seek the intervention of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the Singur issue. It will submit a memorandum to him "possibly on Thursday."

Even as Ms. Banerjee’s hunger strike against the Tata motor project at Singur entered the 24th day, an NDA meeting here, chaired by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, expressed concern over her deteriorating health and urged the CPI (M) Government in West Bengal and the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre to save her life. It urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to defuse the situation, following which the NDA would "actively plead" with Ms. Banerjee to call off her fast.

However, according to well-placed sources, no decision was taken to launch a nation-wide agitation in support of her fast.

Pledges support

In a statement later, the NDA pledged support for the "death-defying agitation" to safeguard the land and livelihood of farmers. "Despite the high decibel propaganda of the CPI (M), it is now clear that a large number of kisans have been terrorised by the police and CPI (M) cadre into parting with their landholdings, although many are still holding out refusing to accept the compensation offered... Farmers will never forgive the anti-people governments in the State and at the Centre if anything were to happen to Ms. Banerjee."

In a three-point charter, the NDA demanded that the West Bengal Government persuade Tata Motors to give up the multicrop land and accept an alternative site for its township and real estate project; land should be returned immediately to those farmers/cultivators who had not given consent and/or those who had not accepted the cheques offered by the State for their land; and the Prime Minister must speak "forthrightly" to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and ask him to "recognise the explosive nature of the situation."

If the demands were not met, the NDA would assist Ms. Banerjee in every possible way to bring her agitation to a victorious conclusion.

Narmada issue

The statement recalled that (in contrast) the Prime Minister rushed a three-member ministerial team under Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz to rehabilitation sites, in response to an agitation (by the Narmada Bachao Andolan) against raising the height of the Narmada dam, "as the beneficiary States happened to be NDA-ruled."

Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress, Sharad Yadav and Parbhunath Singh of the Janata Dal (United), Prakash Singh Badal and S.S. Dhindsa of the Akali Dal and Brij Kishore Tripathi of the Biju Janata Dal attended the meeting. The BJP leaders who were present included L.K. Advani, Jaswant Singh and V.K. Malhotra.

See online : The Hindu

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