Buddha should have resigned over 'Jungle mahal': Chidambaram

P Chidambaram
Garbeta (WB), April 25: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today blamed West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for failing to tackle law and order in Maoist- dominated ''Jungle mahal'' area and said he should have resigned as the situation was beyond his control.

"The chief minister has told me that the situation was beyond his control and that of his government. If he could do nothing about it, I would expect him to resign, making way for a new government," he told an election rally.

Chidambaram said he visited West Midnapore a year ago amid deteriorating law and order and the district was virtually under the control of Maoists.

"What was worse then, a police station in the district remained locked from inside with policemen for nine months and the state government was sleeping over it," he said.

Asserting that the Centre was determined to end the Maoist menace, he said, it will require some time, however, to get an upper hand on them. "We told them to give up violence and come for talks. But they are not prepared for talks."

Claiming the CPI-M and the Maoists were the "same" as they had ideological origin in Communism, Chidambaram said the people in the area are facing atrocities from both of them.

Chidambaram said he had pointed out to Bhattacharjee several times that CPI-M cadres were gathering weapons and threatening people in the area.

"I told the CPI-M to take action, but he said his partymen were not involved. I said there were armed camps, but he denied. I gave him a map pointing the armed camps, but even then, he said there were no such camps," he said.

Referring to the ongoing CBI enquiry into the firing on villagers from an armed CPI-M camp at Netai village, he said some CPI-M leaders have been arrested and the house of one of the leaders from where firing took place, was sealed.

"After Netai happened, the chief minister came to see me, but could not look me in the eye," the home minister said.

He said killings were continuing in West Midnapore with 204 people, including 99 Trinamool Congress supporters and 16 from the Congress killed in clashes last year. Till April 15, 26 people, including 14 from TC and 4 from Congress have been killed.

Terming West Bengal as a ''sick'' state whose government had taken overdraft from the RBI, he said it was the only state where several lakhs of government job vacancies could not be filled as it did not have the funds to pay salaries.

West Bengal was also one of the ''poorest'' in the country in terms of health, education and physical infrastructure, he said.

Appealing to the people in the district to vote without fear to install a new government, Chidambaram said he would talk to the Election Commission to deploy central forces at all polling booths in the district.

"During the elections, for the counting and even after counting, full security will be provided," he said.


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