West Bengal cabinet to discuss opposition to Maoist ban


Kolkata : Faced with stringent opposition from allies to the implementation of the central government’s ban on the Communist Party of India-Maoists, West Bengal’s ruling Left Front (LF) Thursday said the state cabinet’s core group will discuss the matter.

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“The West Bengal chief minister (Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee) has said the state government will decide how and in which manner the ban will be implemented. If need be, the full council of ministers will also discuss it,” LF chairman Biman Bose told reporters after a meeting of all constituents.

The CPI-Maoist was banned by the central government under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The LF meeting was convened after several partners expressed their opposition to the chief minister’s view that “we cannot say ‘no’ to such an act” and the arrest of the rebel outfit’s spokesman Gour Chakraborty.

Biman Bose said while all administrative steps were being taken to maintain normalcy in the Maoist-hit areas, especially Lalgarh, the ultra Leftists have to be fought politically.

Bose said people in the troubled West Midnapore district zone of Lalgarh, where the Maoists had established a virtual “free zone” by driving out the civil and police administration, have now realised their blunder in associating with the rebels.

The central and state security personnel are engaged in an operation to flush out the Maoist rebels from Lalgarh, about 200 km west of Kolkata.

The LF chairman conceded that the Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards were not properly distributed in most areas of the state and demanded that all ration cards be cancelled and new ones issued.

“There is lacuna in one aspect in almost all the districts – BPL ration card was not properly distributed. Now the utility of ration cards is manifold. It helps people to avail various health facilities,” he said.

“We want to place a demand to the government that all the ration cards be cancelled and new ones issued. And while issuing new cards, new BPL cards should also be made,” Bose added.