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Home > News > Interview

The Rediff Interview/Trinamul Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi

'The CPI-M is desperate in West Bengal'

October 29, 2007

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Violence has flared up again in Nandigram, West Bengal over the acquisition of land for a Special Economic Zone. The situation is tense, with both the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Trinamul Congress hurling allegations against each other.

While the CPI-M alleges that three of their activists were killed and five injured in a bomb blast at Nandigram, the Trinamul Congress said the CPI-M activists had shot at party chief Mamta Banerjee's car.

Vicky Nanjappa spoke to Trinamul Congress leader and Member of Parliament Dinesh Trivedi.

Your party blames the CPI-M for shooting at your party chief.

The CPI-M is desperate at the moment. They are aware that elections are round the corner and they can sense defeat. The CPI-M has always ruled through terror in West Bengal. They want to use the same tactics in Nandigram.

That includes an attempt to kill Mamta Banerjee?

Yes, they can go to any extent. I had said on Sunday morning that there is danger to her life. I had even spoke to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on the issue. However, none of us was able to contact West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhabeb Bhattacharya. We were told several times by his office staff that he is not available. I told the home minister that Mamta's pilot car had strangely disappeared just before the shooting incident.

Are you saying that even the Union government is not helping your cause?

Yes. They need the support of the CPI-M and they will not do anything to displease them. At this moment, it is necessary that the Centre interferes in the issue. The Centre will be failing in its duty if they do nothing and not take the issue seriously.

Why has the CPI-M become so aggressive?

There was a time when they enjoyed the support of 70 per cent of the minority community. However, with the SEZ issue, their support has been reduced to almost half. They feel that the only way to stay in power is by scaring away those who are opposing the SEZ policy. They have no other choice but to turn aggressive. Several people from the minority community have vanished from the state. These people have run away to avoid bloodshed.

What about the people of West Bengal?

They are frustrated and they are living in fear. There is a need to fight collectively for West Bengal.

What is the status of the anti-SEZ protest?

It is no longer a movement by Mamta Banerjee. It has become a peoples' movement. They will fight it out with our support. Take the Singur issue. How long can one have the police stationed there? Is this the way to rule a state? Where will the farmer go? Whichever way you look at it, there is mayhem in West Bengal. Be it the SEZ issue or the Rizwanur death case. The courts had to intervene and order a Central Bureau of Investigation probe. What was the government doing?

The Rediff Interviews