BJP on Tuesday accused UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and other top Congress leaders of supporting a "softline" towards Naxals and warned that giving a "limited mandate" to Home Minister P Chidambaram in the fight against the menace was akin to waging a losing battle.
Batting for Chidambaram, who had yesterday said that he was given a limited mandate on the issue of taking tougher action against the Naxals, the BJP hit out at the Congress-led government for waging a "half-battle" against the Maoists, who blew up a bus on Monday in Dantewada killing 35 people.
"Chidambaram appeared to be an injured martyr. He looked disheartened...He claimed he had only a limited mandate from the Cabinet Committee on Security as against the larger mandate that he desired," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said at a press conference here.
"It is time the Prime Minister stood up and spoke on the issue and told the nation what are his views on the subject. Is he only in favour of a limited mandate to fight the Maoists?," he said.
He asked the government whether the country would see a "half-battle" against Maoists or it will use all national security resources to eradicate naxalism.
Referring to Gandhi's recent letter in a Congress journal addressed to her party workers, the BJP leader alleged that it showed that she lent support to the softline on Maoists.
This meant Chidambaram had a limited mandate- as he himself stated in an interview- to fight naxalism, he said.
He claimed that while the opposition was lending all support to the fight against Maoist violence, Congress and the UPA were involved in demoralising the security apparatus.
"It is no longer peripheral leaders who want a soft stand against the Maoists. It is the Centre-stage leadership of the party, which has now supported that stand," he said.
This is akin to fighting Maoists with one hand tied, he added. "A half battle against Maoists can never succeed. A half battle is a losing battle," Jaitley said.
Jaitley maintained that there are no two views on the need for a multi-pronged approach to fight the Maoists.
The Rajya Sabha MP also rubbished arguments that lack of development was the prime cause of Naxalism.
"India cannot accept the logic that Maoists are merely misguided ideologues. They are a violent and brutal organisation that with the use of force wants to overthrow India's Parliamentary democracy.... There will be no space for ideological dissent. Elimination of opponents and dissenters will be the rule," Jaitley said.
He maintained that if development alone could solve the problem, the entire nation would welcome it.
"But in order to ensure development and poverty eradication in the secluded Maoist dominated areas, they must first be entered to establish the rule and governance of the civilian administration," he said.