“As a free citizen, I can go anywhere and no Section 144 can stop me”

Voicing her steely resolve to visit Maoist-affected Lalgarh in Paschim Medinipur on August 9, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said here on Saturday that the State government and the Chief Minister would be responsible if she or her party supporters are harmed during the visit.

“We will definitely go to Lalgarh. As a free citizen of the country, I can go anywhere and no Section 144 can stop me,” Ms. Banerjee said at a press conference.

Raising questions on the logic of keeping a region under prohibitory rules for over a year , she alleged that it is a “ploy of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to set up camps to stockpile firearms and carry out violence.”

Speaking on the alleged Maoist posters found at the gates of the Raj Bhavan and the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital late on Friday, Ms. Banerjee indirectly accused the CPI(M) saying the Centre should investigate such incidents which is a tactic used by the party of have-nots to startle people and cling to power.

Reiterating that Trinamool supporters are being regularly killed by CPI (M) cadres in the Jangalmahal region, Ms. Banerjee alleged that the CPI (M) has adopted a new strategy of leaving behind “hand-written Maoist posters” at the murder site.

On the ongoing security operation in the Maoist-affected region she asserted: “More than flushing out the Maoists, the security operations are facilitating the setting up of CPI (M) camps and stockpiling of arms by prominent CPI (M) ministers. Arms are being transported in government vehicles.”

Ms. Banerjee also alleged that a section of her political adversaries are planning to “eliminate” her before the State Assembly elections due in 2011.

I have specific information that recently meetings took place between certain CPI (M) ministers and persons with vested interest from other parties. Since they cannot fight against me politically and democratically, they are setting up suicide squads to eliminate me and other senior leaders of my party, she said.

Criticising the Left Front government's decision to hike power tariff at a time when the Left parties are vocal against the Centre's decision to increase fuel prices, Ms. Banerjee quipped that State government should know that charity begins at home.

Responding to questions as to whether or not the Trinamool Congress should also protest against the fuel price hike, she said: “Like the Left Front, we do not aspire to topple the government even while being within it. We want the UPA government to stay but will request it to rollback prices. We will remain 100 per cent committed to the UPA government as long as we are a part of it.”

  • “Trinamool supporters are regularly killed by CPI(M) workers in Jangalmahal”
  • “CPI(M) leaves behind “hand-written Maoist posters” at murder site”