Alleging that there was no difference between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in West Bengal and that the CPI (Marxist) was perpetrating violence in the State in the name of the Maoists, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee reiterated her demand to the Centre for immediate withdrawal of Central security forces from the Lalgarh area in the State’s Paschim Medinipur district.

Ms. Banerjee’s statement comes close on the heels of the meeting between Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, where the former had agreed to Mr. Bhattacharjee’s proposal for continuing the joint operation in the Lalgarh area.

Stressing that she shared a “good relation” with the Centre, Ms. Banerjee said at a press conference here on Wednesday: “I will speak to the Centre shortly about our demand of withdrawal of the security forces and encourage developmental activities in the Lalgarh region… the joint operation is nothing but an area-capture ploy of the CPI(M).”

Ms. Banerjee added that a Trinamool Congress team, headed by Partha Chatterjee, Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, will speak to Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi regarding the demands once he was back in the city.

Stating that there are no Maoists in the State as claimed by the State government, Ms. Banerjee said: “Rather than flushing out the Maoists, the CPI(M) has engaged in a turf war in the Lalgarh area in the name of security force operation… what has been the result so far? None of the real culprits could be arrested.”

She also spoke against the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in several parts of the Paschim Medinipur district, which she alleged was a ploy by the State government to hinder any kind of political activity by the Opposition in the region. She demanded its immediate repeal.

“State-sponsored terrorism is thriving in the State as well as in the neighbouring States of Bihar and Jharkhand in the name of the Maoists… the CPI(M) has waged a war against the people by terrorising people and damaging railway property,” Ms. Banerjee said .

She pointed out that bringing about peace and development was the only way of settling the movement in the Lalgarh area.