Pranab defends Mamatas stance on Azads killing

Written by Political Bureau | Kolkata | Updated: Aug 31 2010, 04:35am hrs
In a balancing act after Mamata Banerjee comments about the killing of Maoist leader Azad led to criticism from opposition, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that there is nothing wrong in the statement made by Mamata.

We are fully aware of her position in respect of Azads killing. Mamata Banerjee, home minister P Chidambaram and I had a long discussion with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee said on the issue that whether the railway minister comments on Azads killing are opposed to the stand of UPA government. He added that Mamata Banerjee has only said that if Azad was killed because of the fact that he was trying to initiate talks with the Centre then that should be explained.

Recently Andhra Pradesh government has also explained the situation and the circumstances under which his killing took place. Therefore, I do not think that what she has stated has any contradiction with the stated policy of the UPA government, Mukherjee further added.

Mukherjee also extended further support to the Trinamool supremo and said that she can freely express her opinion. Just because she is an ally of the UPA government that her political party and she cannot have an opinion,Mukherjee said responding to questions at Kolkata Press Club at the sidelines of a programme.

Ajad was killed in an encounter with Andhra Pradesh Police on July 2 and on August 9 at a rally in Lalgarh, railway minister Mamata has said that Azad was murdered after which the opposition have criticised her statement pointing that it is departure the UPA view. Mukherjee also said that if Mamata Banerjee thinks that the Maoist problem can be negotiated through dialogue and invites the Maoists for talks then that doesnt mean that she has links with the Maoists.

Responding to the allegations made by Trinamool Congress that CPM cadres are entering Lalgarh under cover of joint security forces , the union finance minister said that he is aware of allegations.

She has brought this allegation that under the coverage of the joint operation, the armed cadres of Marxist Communist Party are taking advantage and those who were driven out from that area they are trying to reorganise themselves and come back and take the liberated step. This allegation she has brought before the home minister. The home minister would look into it. he said. On the spurt of recent political violence in the state the finance minister said that political clashes should be avoided and there is no room for violence in the democracy.