Lalgarh rally figures in Parliament

The Trinamool Congress rally in Lalgarh, West Bengal, figured in Parliament on Monday, with Left members wanting to know the Centre's stand on the alleged “links” of the United Progressive Alliance ally (The Trinamool) with Maoists. They described the rally as an “anti-national activity,” evoking a strong protest from the Trinamool members.

In the Lok Sabha, A. Sampath [Communist Party of India (Marxist)] said the Centre must clarify its stand on the public meeting in view of the Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) supporting the rally.

Raising the matter during zero hour, he sought to know how could a UPA ally, including its leader who is a Union Minister, associate itself 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,” Mr. Sampath said, pointing out that when the entire House has condemned the killing of Central Reserve Police Force jawans in Dantewada by Maoists, “it is an anti-national activity of a Union Minister by jointly holding a rally with them”.

Peace and harmony

Responding to the charges, Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said Ms. 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 CPI(M).

Mr. Bandopadhyay said the PCPA, which had 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 promised that they would be given time when the House assembled for the day.

Support from BJP

In the Rajya Sabha, the Left got support on the issue from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Biju Janata Dal in targeting the Trinamool.

Prashanta Chatterjee of the CPI(M) said 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.

Rajiv Pratap Rudy (BJP) said he had “doubts” over the government's intentions in tackling Maoists.

Pyari Mohan Mohapatra (BJD) said “this should be taken up by the Centre very seriously.”

Intervening, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the sentiments of the House would be conveyed to the government.

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