PM should speak on Mamata's Lalgarh speech: BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday demanded that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, clear the air over the railway minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee's speech at Lalgarh slamming the manner in which Maoist spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad had been killed last month.

Both houses of Parliament witnessed vociferous demands to take up the issue and the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 12 noon as soon as it met after witnessing noisy exchanges between the treasury and opposition benches.

"A senior minister of the ruling alliance openly calls the killing of Azad wrong and the home minister is accepting it. The Prime Minister should intervene," BJP spokesperson, Mr Ravishankar Prasad, told reporters in the Parliament House complex.

At the Lalgarh rally on Monday, Ms Banerjee slammed the killing of Azad in an encounter in Andhra Pradesh July 2, suggesting it was a staged shootout.

Azad, who carried a reward of Rs.12 lakh on his head, was a member of the central committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist). He was gunned down along with a freelance journalist, Hem Chandra Pandey.

"Why is the Prime Minister quiet on the issue," Prasad asked, adding: "He has been quiet for the whole of this session."

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