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BJP, CPM in war of words over Nandigram
November 22, 2007 15:11 IST
Last Updated: November 22, 2007 16:33 IST
Seeking to kill two birds with one stone, the Opposition on Thursday sought to put both Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Centre on the mat in Rajya Sabha on the Nandigram issue and demanded that President's rule be imposed in West Bengal.
The CPI-M, which is in power in the state, hit back at the Opposition, especially the Bharatiya Janata Party, by condemning any attempt by it to destabilise an elected government by seeking President's Rule.
Initiating a Short Duration Discussion on the proposal to set up a SEZ in Nandigram and consequent large-scale violence, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said since directives to the state under Article 355 would not work, 'President's Rule should be imposed.'
Claiming that the Centre's directives have been thrown to the winds, Swaraj, who visited Nandigram thrice, wondered if Home Minister Shivraj Patil's orders will be carried out and asked how the Centre was going the tackle the Maoists problem.
In a hard-hitting speech, she narrated the sequence of incidents in Nandigram and asked if 14 persons were killed by policemen, who were said to have opened fire in self defence, how come no securitymen were injured.
Amidst shouts of 'shame, shame,' she alleged that though a large number of women had been raped in Nandigram, the state government had not taken any steps to punish the guilty.
Swaraj demanded a resolution from the Chair condemning the violence in Nandigram which, she said, should be passed unanimously by the House.
Swaraj said rather than condemning the Nandigram violence, the CPI-M was defending the incidents and saying Maoists were responsible.
"I want to ask both the Left and the Home Minister are there Maoists (in Nandigram). The state Home Secretary has said there are no Maoists," she said.
"During my visit to Sonacura in Januray, thousands of women and children came to express their anger against the manner in which they had been harassed by the cadre of their own party. The same story was repeated when Nandigram was up in flames couple of months later," said Swaraj.
"I felt helpless as I did not know how to console a hapless mother who was wailing for her son. But the third time when I visited Nandigram and some other places, nobody was willing to come forward to give their version of what had transpired. They were afraid that if they said anything against the CPI-M, they might be killed," she added.
Charging CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury with adopting double standards, the BJP leader said while he mediated with Maoists in Nepal, in India he is talking differently, holding them responsible for the violence.
Countering the allegation, Yechury said Maoists in Nepal could not be equated with the Maoists in India. "Here also if they (Maoists) shun violence, I am ready to hold talks with them," he said. Yechury said even National Security Adviser M K Narayanan had said that Maoists were present in Nandigram.
Squarely blaming the Centre for the delay in sending CRPF to the area to tackle the situation, he retorted that though only one-and-a-half block out of 341 blocks in West Bengal are affected by violence, BJP was demanding imposition of President's rule.
"The political objective (behind this) is destruction of CPI-M," he said, adding that there was a 'grand alliance' among BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Trinamool Congress and foreign-funded NGOs as part of a 'larger battle.'
Seeking to turn the tables on BJP, Yechury accused the saffron party of providing shelter to Maoists for their own political gains. "You show your concern for internal security but at the same time you are encouraging them," he said.