Kolkata: The lack of co-operation between the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal in fighting the Maoist menace has made rural Bengal a Maoist hotbed.
The past clashes between the police force and the tribals in the state's Lalgarh district reminds one of the ruthless confrontation between the ruling CPI-M and the Maoists.
Some allege that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Bannerjee is silently backing pro-Maoist groups like Chatradhar Mahato's People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) in Lalgarh to weaken the CPI-M.
"Trinamool Congress is trying to mobilise all the anti-Left forces including the Maoists. Not just in Lalgarh but also in Nandigram and Singur where they have launched movements. In both the places, they took the help of the Maoists," alleges Nirupam Sen, Industries Minister in the West Bengal government.
The TMC however blames the CPI-M for the violence.
"What were the people and tribals of Lalgarh looking for? They were simply looking for dignity, security and relief from abject poverty. And what did they get in return? They got the lathis and bullets as they were terrorised by the CPI-M and the police," claims TMC spokesperson Derek O'Brien.
With close to 150 attacks in last 3 years, Lalgarh, Sildah and Jhargram in Bengal's West Midnapore district have become Maoist hotbeds.
The gravity of the situation can be understood from the fact that in November 2008, even Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's convoy was attacked by Maoists at Salboni.
"The spread of the Maoists into areas not under their control is a sign of their strength. The Maoists are venturing into areas which have thin police presence," says Ardhendu Sen, Home Secretary, West Bengal government.
It seems that the Maoists are the ones who have gained from the TMC - CPI-M tussle over rural Bengal. It's the common man who's paying the price.