Expressing dissatisfaction at the law and order situation in West Bengal, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said here on Sunday that he requested Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee during their meeting the day before to take “stern measures.”

“…[I] requested him [Mr. Bhattacharjee] to take stern measures so that law and order is maintained in West Bengal. Eventually the buck stops at the Chief Minister's table. If the buck goes beyond the Chief Minister's table, it is a failure of the administrative machinery,” Mr. Chidambaram told journalists after his two-and-half-hour visit here.

Referring to Mangalkot, in Bardhaman district, which has been witnessing frequent political clashes between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Trinamool Congress over the last several months, Mr. Chidambaram said: “I think it is the duty of the government to ensure inter-party clashes come to an end, that killings come to an end. I was very unhappy with what happened in Mangalkot.”

Mangalkot hit the headlines in July last when senior Congress Legislature Party leader Manas Bhunia and other Congress leaders were attacked allegedly by CPI(M) supporters when the former visited the village to distribute relief material among families displaced due to political clashes.

Incidentally, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has sought the Centre's intervention over political clashes at Mangalkot several times in the past.

“The Chief Minister himself has identified to me half a dozen police stations, including Mangalkot, Nanoor, Khanakul, Canning and Khejuri where law and order is not effective,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

Different perceptions

Saying the Chief Minister and he had a “good meeting,” he asserted that perceptions differed during the discussion and that he had conveyed his to Mr. Bhattacharjee.