Lalgarh <i>ke laal</i>

Updated: Aug 13, 2010, 21:40 PM IST

They are wanted. She is always missing. They were both found sharing a common platform on a manic Monday, hand-in-hand. <BR><BR>
It seemed for a while that Mamata Banerjee’s Lalgarh rally had answered some of India’s most urgent questions, though co-incidentally and unintentionally. Some of the most wanted Maoists on the list of security agencies surfaced in Lalgarh at the rally. Mamata, who is always missing from Delhi, too appeared in her trademark swishing sari, flanked by ‘intellectuals’. <BR><BR>
This was an excellent opportunity to get rid of and get a hold of each of them- deciding whom to get rid of and whom to get a hold of may be a tough choice, but that is a different debate for a different set of <i>bhadralok</i> to wade into. <BR><BR>
As Asit Mahato & Co.- wanted in the Jnaneshwari Express derailing incident which killed 141 and maimed 200- walked up to the venue to hear the Railway Minister, the question of whereabouts was answered. <BR><BR>
No, the police was not caught unawares. In fact they were busy shooting them all- on camera of course. Just so that the higher ups would believe that fierce killers can look like ordinary tribals. And for the record, the West Midnapore (where Lalgarh is located) SP Manoj Verma claimed to have arrested one Sushil Mahato with some link to the Jnaneshwari incident. He was not clear exactly how this Mahato was involved, though. <BR><BR>
Next time, whenever the CRPF are hit and a manhunt is launched to nab the attackers, they need not go beyond the Trinamool’s office, it seems. That is another problem of intelligence-security forces dissolved, much like the Maoists who, they claim, dissolve into thick forests before the forces can even say CoBRA. <BR><BR>
That the answer to the Naxal challenge lies in a democratic process is what the intellectuals have always pointed out. It was a matter of inclusive growth, they insist- include the Naxals even in your rallies. That will ultimately lead to growth in votes. Mamata was at the forefront of this understanding when she organized the “apolitical” rally. <BR><BR>
That it got a positive response from the red rebels, what with the faceless Kishen-<i>ji</i> (he is respectable, mind it) calling on the hapless residents to participate, has encouraged the Congress to extend their support to Mamata’s rally by neither condemning it like rest of the political parties nor asking any uncomfortable questions to its second largest ally at the Centre till the clamour for the same got too noisy. <BR><BR>
May be it is a strategy to tackle what the Prime Minister often calls India’s “biggest internal security challenge”. That mostly means winning the next election for the ever insecure parties in this country. That it is scheduled in West Bengal next year makes the PM’s warning a dirty pun, intended or not. <BR><BR>
Don’t get me wrong. Didi is only trying to bring the outlaws into the mainstream. Read what she said at the rally: “Just wait for a few more months and the Marxists will be out of power. I promise to bring development here (then).” <BR><BR>
In short, just wait till she ousts the other set of reds. It will be peaceful, she assured, just like in Singur and Nandigram which became the new political labs of Bengal in recent years. <BR><BR>
This Railway Minister is focused to permanently shift to Writer’s Building and she will do everything for it, regardless of the principle of collective responsibility of the Cabinet. <BR><BR>
She will need help in this silent, peaceful red revolution. And so will her Congress friends who are unsure about their strategy for the state election. They are a divided house in the state and in the first year of their second term at the Centre, the Congress wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity of completing their remaining four years. <BR><BR>
The Naxal heartland of West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia etc. is held by the other reds, who are in constant, bloody turf wars with the Maoists. <BR><BR>
The small message out of Lalgarh thus is the old adage: enemy’s enemy is a friend. Till 2011 then, more blurring of political lines may be in order. <BR><BR>
The new friend in this case, is much like a tiger who Mamata wants to ride. One is never sure what would happen when she gets off its back. Especially now, when Mahato & co have expressed displeasure at not even being called on-stage for garlanding etc. Small courtesies are all they ask.

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