As security forces begin operations in Bihar to search for the three policemen abducted by Maoists, the Centre believes the crisis could help the state police leadership turn around its ambiguous approach to dealing with Naxalism.
"Lalgarh helped West Bengal see Maoists in a different light. This case will do the same for Bihar," a government official said, suggesting they had already seen a difference in the way the state was handling the problem.
He pointed to the chief minister's nod to a joint operation along the Bihar-Jharkhand border to flush out the Maoists as an example.
Bihar was the last among the seven Naxal-affected states that had been fighting shy of being seen to be carrying out police operations against the Naxals.
It was in this context that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had skipped meetings with Home Minister P Chidambaram on deployment of central forces over the past year.
Kumar did not want to send a message that his approach to the Naxal problem was dependent on the security component. And the home ministry refused to spare any more forces for the state without the discussions aimed at ensuring that the central forces were adequately utilised.
Bihar has just about 24 companies of central paramilitary personnel assisting the state police to fight Naxals. This includes 700-odd personnel including members of the CRPF's Special Action Force.
Home ministry sources indicate the state's fresh request for 4,000 additional paramilitary personnel from the Centre was under examination.
"A decision will be taken soon," the official said.