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Nandigram outcry: Will Bengal CM resign?

March 19, 2007 15:10 IST

Astrologers had predicted that Monday's partial solar eclipse will see a major political upheaval in India. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee may prove them right.

A darling of the intellectuals, Bhattacharjee has been instrumental for the development Bengal has seen in recent years. But those same intellectuals are crying foul over the March 14 police firing at Nandigram, where 14 people were killed.

Keeping aside their political affiliations, the thinking heads of Bengal have taken to the streets demanding the chief minister's resignation. They have dubbed Bhattacharjee 'the Narendra Modi of Bengal.' "Bhattacharjee is visibly shaken by this and may even decide to step down," a key political aide in the chief minister's office told rediff.com on Monday.

Bengal has seen violent protests in the past few months -- first at Singur and now at Nandigram. Things came to a boil on March 14 when more than 4,000 heavily armed police stormed Nandigram to stifle the protests. The police reportedly shot dead at least 14, including women, and wounded 70 others. Intellectuals claim that the incident was 'planned' and have appealed to the people of Bengal to launch an 'armed uprising against the state government' before it 'sells the people's fundamental rights to multinationals.'

This is not all. At a forum held at central Kolkata over the weekend, a group of intellectuals, including writers Nabarun Bhattacharya, poet Jaya Mitra, actor Aparna Sen, Indrani Halder, Anjan Dutt, singer-musicians Kabir Suman, Pratul Mukherjee, Pallav Kirtaniya, playwrights like Bibhas Chakraborty, Bratya Basu, Ashok Mukherjee, Kaushik Sen, educationist Saibal Mitra, filmmaker Gautam Ghosh, flayed the West Bengal chief minister for his 'anti-people attitude.'

Renowned poet and Akademi Awardee Sankha Ghosh renounced his Bangla Akademi membership. His colleague Jaya Mitra read out his letter at the same forum. Even documentary filmmaker and advisor, film development board, Sashi Anand, stepped down from his position.

Writer Nabarun Bhattacharya (son of writer and activist Mahasweta Devi) went ahead to not only renounce the Bankim Puroskar for his novel Harvard and but also announced that he will hand over hand over the prize money to the people of Nandigram. "I don't want to give the money back to the government as it would then reach the Tatas and not the state treasury," he said.
Indrani Roy Mitra