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BJP glares, Soren blinks

Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren blinked on his stand against the anti-Maoist drive, with the BJP holding the lifeline of his fledgling government. Shekhar Iyer reports.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2010 23:40 IST
Shekhar Iyer

Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren blinked on his stand against the anti-Maoist drive, with the BJP holding the lifeline of his fledgling government.

After the BJP raised its eyebrows on his call for dialogue with the rebels amid reports that security forces had been pulled back, Soren on Friday called up central BJP leaders, including leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, to clarify that he had been “misquoted”.

Senior BJP leaders here said they were willing to give Soren the benefit of doubt, making it clear that their party would not compromise on the issue of combating Naxalism when it had all along blamed the UPA for delaying a decisive police action.

Soren’s conversation with central BJP leaders was followed by Jharkhand DGP Neyaz Ahmad and home secretary

J.B. Tubid holding a news conference to declare they

were getting ready to launch special operations against the Maoists.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The Naxal problem is a multi-dimensional issue. But those who profess Naxalism do not believe in our Constitution and want to overthrow the system by senseless killings. We cannot have a dialogue till they give up violence. We will have to act to make them give up the gun.”

Soren told reporters in Ranchi, “I am not against Green Hunt (special police operation). The operations are going on in Jharkhand. I have asked the Maoists to stop killing people and urged them to come forward for dialogue. We want to

know what they actually want from us. Why they are against us.”

“We categorically say there is no change in the state government’s policies or operations against Maoists. The state government’s policies are the same as it was a year ago about the Maoists,” said Tubid.