Kolkata, Sep 5 (UNI) Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said the crucial talks on the Singur tangle had been deferred because of the opposition's non-compliance with Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi's request to suspend its agitation.
''The Governor requested Ms Mamata Banerjee to suspend the agitation at Singur and remove the blockade on the National Highway two. The opposition has not listened to it. In this situation, the Governor has decided to start the meeting at 1600hrs'' he told reporters at the state Secretariat.
Emphasising that the Government side did not buy any time to get ready for the meeting, which was scheduled to be held at 1000 hrs, the Chief Minister said, ''so far as my knowledge goes, the Governor decided to defer the meeting. We are ready with the papers and our Ministers are ready.'' Mr Bhattacharjee's statement contradicted the Governor's, who had said earlier in the day that the meeting had been postponed by a few hours following a request by the Government representatives.
Mr Gandhi had said the Government side 'expressed hope' that the agitation led by Ms Banerjee would be 'put on hold' during the negotiations. ''But when one has the right to stage peaceful agitation, it is a matter of definition and decision of the opposition,'' he had said.
However, when asked whether lifting the blockade on NH2 and calling off the agitation was what the Government wanted as a condition for holding talks with the opposition, the Chief Minister said, ''we have no pre-condition. But it is the Governor's request.'' ''The opposition should listen to the Governor. It should suspend the agitation and clear the road block. It should hold talks in a peaceful atmosphere. It is the Governor's request and we think they should listen,'' he said.
In reply to a question whether Ms Banerjee's agitation, continuing close to the Nano project site, was peaceful, Mr Bhattacharjee shot back ''what is peaceful? Is it peaceful to threaten the employees and prevent them from joining duty? It is a serious issue.'' The talks between the Government and the Trinamool Congress-led opposition were called by the Governor in an attempt to find a formula to resolve the problem arising out of Ms Banerjee's demand for a portion of the Nano project site to be given back to the farmers which neither the Government nor Tata Motors complied with.
The situation took a more complicated turn, when Tata Motors suspended work at the Singur plant and announced its plan to relocate the project outside the state.
The company said the decision was driven by the persistent agitation and disruption in work and its concern for safety of the employees.
UNI KDG PL RR GC1454