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    Chhatradhar Mahato criticises TMC, Left alike

    Lalgarh: Thirty eight-year old Niyati Mahato was back canvassing for votes in Lalgarh, 18 years after she lost a Panchayat poll on a Congress ticket.This time round, she appealed for her husband Chhatradhar Mahato, the leader of People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA), the same group that led the tribals' resistance with Maoist support in Lalgarh two years. Mahato, the man accused in the Gyaneswari train sabotage and is currently an undertrial, is contesting from Jhargham. "People are saying that they have voted for 34 years and still remain deprived. The resistance has opened our eyes and we will vote for our leader," said Chhatradhar Mahato's wife Niyati Mahato.For 18 months now, Chhatradhar has been an undertrial at Midnapore jail, with his associates gunned down by the central paramilitary. And though Mamata Banerjee has supported the withdrawal of these forces, the PCPA says Trinamool is the bigger threat to them."Is Mamata Banerjee truly interested in the people of Jungal Mahal? Has she spoken about the women who were raped? Did she protest the killings of our leaders Sidhu Soren, Umakanta Mahato and Lalmohan Tudu?" asked PCPA spokesperson Manoj Mahato.The CPI-M, counting on recapturing lost areas, says Chhatradhar Mahato is not a threat. "We have got the confidence in people and people also know us…not today, not since 77 but since the 50s," said CPI-M West Midnapore Unit Secretary Dipak Sarkar.After sustained flip-flops, the Bengal government refused to let Mahato out of jail to address a solo public meeting. But his support clearly hasn't waned - supporters have ignored the summer heat to turn up in big numbers. By simultaneously taking on both the CPM and the Trinamool Congress, Chhatradhar Mahato has responded to the persistent Left allegation of Trinamool-Maoist nexus. But the Left would, doubtless, be pleased with Mahato's decision to contest the polls because that would ensure a division in anti-Left votes.