Under fire from its allies on the continuing violence against north Indians in Maharashtra, a defensive Congress on Wednesday responded nervously and asked the state government to adopt a policy of zero tolerance against “regional chauvanism”.
The central leadership asked CM Vilasrao Deshmukh to take stern action against the culprits.
The top brass went into a huddle in the evening at a meeting of the party’s core committee, attended among others by PM Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
“We won’t remain a silent spectator on any attempts at regional chauvanism which will destroy peace. We urge the state government to take stern action against any culprits guilty of violence in the name of regional chauvanism,” party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan had said earlier in the day.
She rejected allegations that Maharashtra had failed to rein in those responsible for the continued violence.
The recurring flare-ups have pushed the Congress on a back-foot at a time when it was hoping to hammer the BJP following arrests of some members belonging to the party’s frontal organisations for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts.