TNN 30 October 2009,
KOLKATA: Putting their recent differences behind, state Congress leaders came out strongly in support of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee over her stance on the Maoist trouble in Bengal. CPM leaders have slammed Mamata, especially after the Rajdhani hold-up, saying that she goes soft on Maoists.
"I do not believe Mamata supports Maoists. She has already clarified her stand. If there is any further confusion, I am sure she will dispel that also. The railway minister is a nationalist, democratic and secular leader. She is a UPA partner," state Congress Committee general secretary Manas Bhunia said. Observer added that Mamata's stand against the Maoists on occasions had been harder than that of even CPM. When the joint operations had been launched in Lalgarh four months ago Mamata had wanted Lalgarh declared a disturbed area, which would have paved the way for deployment of the army there. Even after the detention of Rajdhani Express near Jhargram on Tuesday, she spoke about army deployment to control Maoists.
On other occasions, however, she had also suggested that the joint operations should be withdrawn as it was not yielding any result and a dialogue should be started with the Maoists. She had even offered to mediate in such a dialogue. Opposition leader Partha Chatterjee accused CPM leaders of having links with Maoists in the past, which had helped the Maoists to grow in the state. He demanded an inquiry into how CPM was spreading a "reign of terror" throughout the state.