CM rules out police action to break Mamata strike

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`Ready to discuss anything she wants to'


Our Bureau

Kolkata, Dec. 7

The West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, has ruled out police action to break the indefinite hunger strike being undertaken by the Trinamool Congress leader, Ms Mamata Banerjee, to protest against the acquisition of farmland at Singur for the Tata small car project. Ms Banerjee's fast entered its fourth day on Thursday.

Speaking at the Bengal Chief Minister's interactive session of Infocom 2006 Conference & Exhibition here on Thursday, Mr Bhattacharjee once again appealed to Ms Banerjee to call off her hunger strike and discuss the matter with the State Government. On Wednesday, the Governor Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi, had gone to the site and requested her to call it off. The trip was futile as she turned down the Governor's request.

"I have appealed to Mamata Banerjee to call off her hunger strike. Yesterday, the Governor asked me if he could go to her to persuade her to do so and I said yes. I am not in favour of police action. Today, I again appeal to her to call off her fast. I am telling her that I am ready to discuss anything she wants to," Mr Bhattacharjee said, and appealed to the media to carry his message to her.

The Chief Minister said some leaders of the Trinamool Congress, including Mr Saugata Ray, MLA, had visited Singur on Thursday. "I spoke to Saugata Ray and asked him if he faced any problems there. He replied that he had no complaints against the police. I have also asked him to speak to Mamata and convince her to call off her hunger strike and come and discuss issues with the Government," he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 8, 2006)
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