Hours after Naxals blew up a bus in Chhattisgarh killing over 30 people, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said he had a "limited" mandate and has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for more, hinting at the demand by some states for use of air-support to tackle Maoists.
Replying to questions on the need for air-support to tackle the Naxal menace and the Cabinet Committee on Security's refusal to endorse the use of the same, Chidambaram said, "I can implement the mandate that is given to me. Now I believe that the collective wisdom is better than an individual statement."
Specifically asked whether he wanted air-support for the operations, the Minister told NDTV, "The security forces, the Chief Ministers want air-support."
He said the Chief Ministers of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa all ask for air-support.
Chidambaram said he "tried" to convince his government on the issue. Replying to a question about the criticism for being able to develop consensus on his approach, he said, "No Chief Minister has found fault with my approach so far. I argued before the CCS and I got a limited mandate."
Asked if he was unhappy with the limited mandate, he said, "I took to the Cabinet Committee case for a larger mandate, I was given a limited mandate. I will go back to the cabinet committee, I have already spoken to the Prime Minister...
"We will go back to the cabinet committee to revisit that mandate in light of the revised strategy that the CPI (Maoist) is following of which we have enough evidence and intelligence."
He said the Naxals don't make a distinction between "Central and state police forces. They simply kill."