Welcoming the return of a section of Naxalites to main stream politics, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the role reversal would strengthen the democratic system in the country.

“A section of Naxalites in West Bengal has shunned violence and joined main stream politics by reposing their faith in democracy. This is a good sign for strengthening the democracy in the country,” the Railway Minister told PTI.

Admitting that many former Naxalites are with the Trinamool Congress, She said they have worked with us whole heartedly during the last Lok Sabha elections.

People like Purnendu Bose, Dola Sen, Pradeep Banerjee and many more former Naxalites are very much with us and we welcome their return to democratic politics, she said.

Asked since when these Naxalites are with Trinamool Congress, she said, “it all started during the Singur agitation. They came forward and supported us.”

Seeking to differentiate between Naxalites and Maoists, Banerjee said, “Naxalites are not Maoists. So do not confuse them with Maoists.”

On CPI(M) allegation that she is getting support from Maoists, she said, “it is the other way around. Everybody knows who supported the Maoist movement in Nepal.”

On the by-election results, she said, “it is people’s mandate. People voted them (CPI(M)) out and I have no role.”

Ruling out any possibility of merging with Congress, she said we will have a well-knit alliance with the party (in the 2011 West Bengal Assembly polls).”

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