The BJP on Tuesday urged the Prime Minister to come clear on his approach towards tackling Maoists.
The party says, those within the Congress, who advocate a soft line towards Maoists, were allowing Home Minister P. Chidambaram only a “limited mandate” to fight Maoists.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said there were two lines within the UPA — one suggesting that lack of development was the reason for the Maoist menace. The other aligns with Chidambaram’s line that Maoist-affected areas cannot be developed without first flushing Naxals out — a view the BJP backs.
Referring to an interview of Chidambaram, Jaitley said he “appeared to be an injured martyr and looked disheartened” because of opposition from within UPA. The opponents, he said, included UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
“The recent letter by Smt Sonia Gandhi to Congress workers in the party journal lends support to the soft line on Maoists,” Jaitley said, referring to a letter in Congress Sandesh where Gandhi talks about the need for development in Maoist-
affected areas. This letter, he says, supported the line advocated by Digvijay Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar.
“These non-government leaders are accountable to the party, while the Prime Minister is accountable to the Parliament and the people,” he said. “It is high time the Prime Minister stood up and clarified his stand.”
On the Chhattisgarh government’s accountability, he said the Centre and states should function together. On whether the army and air force should be used against Maoists, Jaitley said: “If the security agencies take such a position, we will support it.”
Though development is necessary everywhere, Jaitley insisted that it should not be used as an argument to back Maoists.