M A I N   N E W S

Opposition puts govt on the mat
Mamata’s allegation that Maoist leader was murdered angers BJP, Left 
Faraz Ahmad and Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
The Opposition put the UPA government on the mat today in both Houses over Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegation that Maoist leader Azad was “murdered” in a fake encounter and her virtually asking the Centre to call off Operation Greenhunt against the Naxalites.

A red-faced and visibly embarrassed leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee eventually rose to assure the House that the government would “ascertain the position from the Railway Minister" before saying anything.

The issue came in handy both to BJP and Left to take on the government on this. Mamata’s allegations that Azad was killed in a fake encounter, came in handy for the BJP, smarting under the CBI probe into the Sohrabuddin case, asking whether it would hold a CBI probe into Azad killing as well. The CPM on the other hand questioned the government’s silence on the presence of well-known leaders of the PCPA (Maoists) leading the rally in Lalgarh for Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress.

In the Lok Sabha, BJP deputy leader Gopinath Munde raised it while in the Rajya Sabha leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitely himself led the charge against the government.

Jaitely recalled during Zero Hour how on several occasions the Prime Minister had termed Maoists as the single greatest threat to internal security and wondered whether the Trinamul leader was exempt from the collective responsibility of the Cabinet.

He pointed out how underground Maoist leaders like Kishenji and Manoj Mahato had given a public call for yesterday's rally, also reminding how the main suspect in the Jnaneshwari Express train sabotage led the rally along with several top underground Maoist leaders.

At one point when Union Minister of State for Health and Family Affairs and Trinamool Congress member from the Lok Sabha Dinesh Trivedi tried to defend Mamata, Jaitley wondered whether as a minister he could speak against the government because as a Lok Sabha member in any case, he was not entitled to speak in the Upper House.

Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari wondered what prevented the West Bengal Police to arrest “the Maoists” who attended Mamata’s rally in Lalgarh yesterday. He said, “If they were indeed Maoists, what prevented the police from arresting them. Why were they content with just videographing them. All that the West Bengal Government wanted was to score some cheap points” he said, insisting that nowhere in the rally Mamata said that she had favoured Naxals.





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