Kolkata, Nov 7 (UNI) Veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu today said Central forces would not be called in Nandigram even though Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had sought para-military forces to take control of the strife-torn area.
''Deployment of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Nandigram has been postponed. It has been done on the basis of a consensus of the Left Front partners,'' he told reporters after attending a Front meeting.
His statement comes a week after Chief Minister Bhattacharjee requested Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil to send the CRPF in the area, witnessing internecine violence since January.
Pleading strongly for the state police to tackle the situation, Mr Basu said supporters of both the rival groups were carrying arms while bridges were being blown off and roads dug up.
''What are the state police doing there? Why are they not taking proper measures?'' he asked.
The chief minister and other senior leaders of the Front partners were present at the meeting.
However, denying that the Left Front had taken any such decision, its Chairman Biman Basu said it was up to the chief minister to decide what to do.
''There was no decision on the CRPF in the Front meeting...why should we decide? It is up to the chief minister and the administration,'' he told reporters.
Evading a question on whether the nonagenarian leader had expressed his own opinion, Mr Basu said he would not speak out on ''others' comments''.
''I will have to talk to Jyoti babu to know what he said,'' he explained.
The Front Chairman said both Mr Jyoti Basu and the chief minister were among others who spoke in the meeting.
Mr Basu alleged that rival Trinamool Congress was not allowing CPI(M) supporters to live in the area. ''To live there, one has to be a Trinamool Congress supporter. We cannot accept this even if 100 of our people get killed,'' he said.
In reply to a question, Mr Basu said he was ready to take initiatives for peace talks with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee to restore normalcy in Nandigram. ''If they want, of course we shall call her for a peaceful solution to the problem,'' he said.