Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has sought an appointment with party chief Sonia Gandhi to explain his criticism of Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s anti-Naxal policy.
Sources close to Singh said he would explain in detail the “contents” of his newspaper article in which he questioned Chidambaram’s approach to tackling Left-wing extremism.
While the Congress distanced itself from his views, it has asked party leaders not to air their differences on government policies publicly.
But the Congress is clearly divided. While there is unanimity that Naxals should be dealt with a firm hand, leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyer, K. Kesava Rao and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi differ with Chidambaram’s approach. They favour talks with Maoists and lay emphasis on development works in the affected areas.
The home minister told both Houses of Parliament that his anti-Naxal policy was in sync with the 2006 AICC resolution, which said the issue has to be addressed as a serious law and order problem with an underlying socio-economic process.
Sources said Singh had “actually spoken in defence” of the home minister in the article. “Singh’s issue is against Naxalites. He has tried to highlight the failure of the BJP government in Chhattisgarh in tackling the Maoist menace ...,” a source said.
“What was the need for Chidambaram to own responsibility for the Dantewada incident when Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh is to be blamed for it? It is for the BJP CM to defend himself. What were police doing when the attack took place?”
The source also said “things would have been better” had Chidambaram discussed the issue with party MPs from Naxal-hit areas before launching the ‘Operation Green Hunt’.