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President expresses concern over Mamta's health
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 28, 2006 17:35 IST
Last Updated: December 28, 2006 21:14 IST
President A P J Abdul Kalam on Thursday expressed concern over the health of Trinamool Congress leader Mamta Banerjee, whose hunger strike concerning the Singur issue entered the 25th day.
Kalam spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in the morning for the second time since Banerjee resorted to the protest against the acquisition of farmland for the Tata Motors project.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman said the President had talked to the chief minister two days ago also on the same issue.
Close on the heels of the President's concern, the chief minister said in Jalpaiguri that he was ready for a dialogue on the Singur issue and would write again to the TC chief and ask her to call off her fast.
Banerjee, whose health has deteriorated, is demanding that the land that was allegedly forcibly acquired for the Tata Motors project at Singur be returned to farmers.
Rajnath Singh, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, told newsmen at Rashtrapati Bhavan that President Kalam was himself worried about the condition of the TC chief.
"The President told us that he had talked to the chief minister of West Bengal about 10 days ago. He spoke to Buddhadeb Bhattacharya this morning as well and expressed his feelings to him," Rajnath Singh told newsmen.
A delegation of National Democratic Party led by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and National Democratic Alliance convenor George Fernandes had met Kalam to request him to intervene personally to save the life of the TC leader.
Others who formed part of the delegation included Sushma Swaraj and Vijay Kumar Malhotra, both of BJP, Sharad Yadav, president of Janata Dal-United, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal, and Dinesh Dwivedi of TC.
Dwivedi said that Banerjee could call off her hunger strike if the chief minister of West Bengal gave assurance that his government would give back the lands of those farmers who have not taken compensation for their land in Singur, and that the CM should give a categorical assurance that he would discuss the matter later with the TC chief.
Dwivedi dared Ratan Tata to disclose the names of his business rivals who are creating trouble for them. Tata in an interview with NDTV had alleged that his business rivals were behind the entire trouble.
"Tata does not even have a heart. He does not even have a basic human attitude towards problems. He is more worried about his business rivals, not about the life of an important national leader," he said.
Kalam asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to find a way to end the stalemate on the issue, and enable Banerjee to call off her hunger strike.
Kalam's spoke to Dr Singh over phone soon after he spoke to the West Bengal chief minister this morning.
"The President spoke to the prime minister today and expressed his serious concern. He emphasised the need to find a way to end the stalemate and to enable her (Banerjee) to end the fast," a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said.
Dr Singh had on Wednesday instructed the Central authorities to extend all medical care to Banerjee in view of the deterioration in her health.
With PTI inputs