Buddhadeb gets double blow for ban on Maoists

Close on the heels of clamping the Central ban on the Left-wing radicals in West Bengal, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee has been caught in the vortex of a twin blow from the Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Left Front partners.

If Jaiswal uncorked the lid of a controversy by stating after a meeting with Bhattacherjee on Wednesday that it was the chief minister who was the prime mover behind the ban on the Maoists, the Front partners on Thursday were understood to have demanded a satisfactory explanation from him as to why he had to plead for a Central ban on the radicals during his meeting with home minister P Chidambaram.

After Jaiswal made it clear that the Centre had acted only after a firm recommendation from the state government, the LF allies namely CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc besides FB (Marxists) sought explanations from Bhattacherjee as to why the state government arrested the CPI(Maoists) spokesman from the city by using the Central act without discussing the same in the Front’s meeting. “The action (arrest) clearly violates the LF’s known stand that talks of a political solution to the problem. Which is why the provisions of POTA were never implemented in Bengal,” one of the alliance leaders argued.

A heated exchange followed and it was reportedly left to senior Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh to cool matters down and the issue has been referred to the Core Committee of the state ministers for a final decision, sources in the Front said here on Thursday. The LF chairman Biman Bose was, however, denied that there was any disunity among the partners on the issue. “The Central law is applicable to all states and the state government is not formulating a separate law to ban the Maoists. It would be discussed in the core committee meeting on how and where the Central law will be imposed in the state,” Bose told the newsmen here.

The Left parties, according to him, are already fighting the “misguided politics and terrorist activities of such outfits”.

“The Central law to ban Maoists is final and the state has no separate opinion in this regard and the core committee would decide on the course of action,” he said.

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