The Trinamool Congress' rally in Maoist-affected Lalgarh had its echo in Parliament on Monday with members of the Left seeking to know the Centre's stand on the alleged hobnobbing of the United Progressive Alliance ally with the extremists, dubbing the meeting as an "anti-national activity".
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Biju Janata Dal also used the opportunity to attack the Centre. Amid strong protests from the Trinamool Congress in Lok Sabha, A Sampath of the Communist party of India said the Centre must spell out its stand on the public meeting in view of the Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities supporting the rally called on Monday by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Without taking the name of Trinamool Congress or Banerjee, he wondered during the Zero Hour how could a UPA ally, including its leader who is a Union Minister, could align with Maoists, described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the biggest threat to internal security.
"Maoists have made it clear that they are with this political party. What has happened that the Union Minister and Ministers of State are not here (in the House)? The Minister is participating in the rally and organising it", he said. Sampath said when the entire House has condemned the killing of CRPF jawans in Dantewada by the Maoists, "it is an anti-national activity of a Union Minister by jointly holding a rally with them".
Countering the charges, TC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said Banerjee's mission to Lalgarh was for "peace and harmony". "If Home Minister P Chidambaram could visit Lalgarh a month back, what is the harm if another cabinet minister visits there? We are totally against politics of violence and killings," he said, alleging that the naxal movement was a "by-product" of the CPM.
Bandopadhyay said the PCPA, which has extended support to the rally, was "not a banned organisation". To this, the Left members said it was "led by Maoists". The Left members stormed the well during the Zero Hour demanding that they be allowed to raise the issue as they were assured that they would be given time when the House had assembled for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha, the Left got support on the issue from the BJP and the BJD in targetting the Trinamool Congress. Rajiv Pratap Rudy said he had "doubts" over the government's intentions in tackling the Maoists. Pyari Mohan Mohapatra referred to the rally and said "this should be taken up by the Centre very seriously".
Prashanta Chatterjee said the Maoists would be sharing the dais with the Railway Minister and she has demanded withdrawal of joint security operations. "This has encouraged Maoist leaders like Kishenji and Mahato who have openly declared that they will join the meeting," he said.