Taking a line opposite to that of key ally BJP, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said on Friday that mining activity was the prime culprit behind the Maoist problem, and that use of force alone cannot be a solution.
"The central government is depending too much on force to tackle the Maoist violence, if the government wants to solve the problem it should issue an order to stop mining operations from the mining areas of Maoist-affected regions. Tribals are being uprooted from their lands. Their jungles are being destroyed and rivers polluted." he said.
This is close to Nitish Kumar's statement that Maoists are part of the society and should not be alienated, but miles apart from the BJP's espousal of a tough line on Maoists who, the party says, are interested not in development but in capturing the state through violent means.
Asked about the difference with the BJP's position, Yadav accepted that the two parties did differ on some issues.
Asked about illegal mining in BJP-ruled Karnataka — an allegation also leveled by the state governor, attracting the BJP's ire — Yadav minced no words and said it must be checked.
Yadav also emphasized that deploying the army would be no solution to the problem.