Opposition parties on Thursday backed the UPA government in its anti-Maoist struggle in many parts of the country, but pointed out that divisions within the ruling alliance could affect the offensive.
Led by the BJP, the Opposition demanded a statement from Home Minister P. Chidambaram in both Houses of Parliament, leading to adjournments.
Leading the attack in the Rajya Sabha, leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said Chidamabaram’s task had been made difficult by Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh. “We do not need a divided government… What we don’t need is a government which tries to pull down its home minister.”
Amid protests from the Congress, Jaitley said there were people in the treasury benches who were “half-Maoists”. He was referring to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who had said there were “no Maoists in Lalgarh” and blamed the CPM for violence in the area.
Jaitley pointed out that the Opposition did not ask for Chidambaram’s resignation after the Dantewada massacre, but “unfortunately the government, the UPA and the Congress party is divided. Some want the home minister to fall, some dispute his approach and some have ideologically gheraoed him.”
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury attacked UPA ally Trinamool Congress for its alleged support to the Maoists in West Bengal.
“How can we have a Union cabinet minister (Banerjee) demanding the arrest of the elected CM of a state (West Bengal)?” he asked.
Yechury said that if the UPA co-existed with such imbalances, “then this is height of political opportunism” and that it was doing a “great disservice” to the nation.
In the Lok Sabha, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha charged the UPA with being soft on the Maoists for the past six years. “Your party is not with you in this fight, however, we support you,” he told Chidambaram.
“The Congress won the Andhra Pradesh elections by joining hands with the Naxalites,” he said, provoking protests by the Congress MPs and leading to a brief adjournment .
A former Congress ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said Digvijay was acting as a “Congress think tank”. Lalu said Chidambaram “saved his job” with the BJP defending him, otherwise “we would have also sought your resignation”.