Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi created a piquant situation for the BJP on Thursday by advocating talks with the Maoists a day after his Chhattisgarh counterpart and party colleague Raman Singh dubbed them as the “biggest terrorists” who should be dealt with forcefully.
But Modi retracted his statement soon after his views were beamed by TV news channels.
“The problem of Naxalite violence can be solved only by a dialogue,” Modi told students at a university in Aligarh.
“History testifies that whenever the solution of any problem has been sought by violence or bloodshed, it has failed,” he said.
Expressing concern over the participation of a large number of youths in Maoist violence, the Gujarat chief minister said the extremists should come to the negotiating table because “that is the only way to find a solution”.
Less than a couple of hours later Modi claimed he had been quoted out of context and the BJP dismissed the controversy saying as much.
He told mediapersons in New Delhi later, “I want to say that the government should take strong action against Naxals and that the killing of innocent people cannot be allowed.”
“Any tendency to destroy the society with arms cannot be accepted. Whether it is the Centre or the states, such things should be eliminated completely,” Modi said.
On the day Modi appeared to have done a flip-flop on Maoists, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said it was “imperative to tackle the causes that spawn Naxalism and give a push to development in underdeveloped tribal areas.”
She said this was necessary alongside dealing with acts of terror forcefully. Gandhi made these observations in her party journal Congress Sandesh.
Describing Naxalism as an “enormous challenge”, the Congress president said, “We have to address the root causes of Naxalism. The rise of Naxalism is a reflection of the need for our development initiatives to reach the grassroots, especially in our most backward tribal districts.”