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Bengal CM to address rally at Nandigram tomorrow
December 25, 2007 20:20 IST
For the first time since the turmoil began in Nandigram 11 months ago, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will address a public meeting there on Wednesday.
The visit is being viewed as a politically significant event with Bhattacharjee being at the centre of a controversy, over the bloody recapture of Nandigram [Images] early last month by his party cadres, and the turmoil in the area since January over the state government's move to acquire land for a mega chemical hub project.
The chief minister's visit has already created a great deal of enthusiasm among the Communist Party of India � Marxist workers in Nandigram, while the opposition Trinamool Congress, which heads the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee spearheading the resistance against the acquisition, slammed the visit.
"It will bring back all the bitter memories of the police firing of March 14 and capture of Nandigram by the CPI-M between November 5 and 11," said senior Trinamool Congress leader and MLA Saugta Roy.
"Nothing that the chief minister will say or do can erase these memories. Nandigram people are resenting the chief minister's visit," he said.
CPI-M leader of East Midnapur district and chairman of the Zilla Parishad, Niranjan Shi, however, told PTI that the chief minister's rally would help boost the peace initiatives in Nandigram.
Inspector General of Police (law and order) Raj Kanojia said that IG (Western Range) Rakesh Gupta was supervising the security for the chief minister's visit.
Shi added that at the chief minister's rally at Tengua More, near Nandigram bus stand, Rs two lakh each would be given on behalf of the CPI-M to the families of 29 party workers killed in attacks by the 'members of the Maoist-backed BUPC'.
After addressing the rally at Nandigram, the chief minister, along with party state secretary Biman Bose, will go to Tamluk, the headquarters of the East Midnapur district, where another public meeting will be held.
Asked whether CPI-M cadres in Nandigram would meet the chief minister to express their grievances over the alleged atrocities by the Central Reserve Police Force on Marxist party supporters there, he said, "We have no such plan".
However, the chief minister is expected to try to win over the people of Nandigram by announcing some developmental schemes.
The CPI-M allies, which have earlier slammed the chief minister's handling of the Nandigram situation, have reacted cautiously to Bhattacherjee's visit to the troubled area.
"Let us see what he says there and its impact," said Mihir Bandyopadhyay, a senior leader of Revolutionary Socialist Party of India, a Left Front constituent.