The ambush of the top Congress leadership in Chhattisgarh by Maoists has sent shockwaves not only in the Union government but also the party high command who have expressed displeasure over security lapses on the part of the state government on Sunday.
In Saturday's attack on the convoy carrying Congress leaders in Sukma district, 27 people were killed including Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, Mahendra Karma and former Congress MLA Uday Mudliar while former Union minister and veteran leader Vidya Charan Shukla is battling for his life at a Delhi hospital.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi air-dashed here on Sunday morning by a special plane and held a meeting with chief minister Dr Raman Singh and Governor Sekhar Dutta at the Raj Bhavan and reviewed the situation.
According to sources, after hearing the details from the chief minister Raman Singh and the Chhattisgarh director general of police (DGP), Ram Nivas about the incident and security measures that were adopted for the Congress dignitaries, the Prime Minister reportedly asked: "Who was responsible for it?" However, neither the chief minister nor the DGP responded to the question of the prime minister.
Earlier, a defensive Raman Singh reportedly said that he has already ordered a judicial inquiry to probe the incident and security lapses, if any. "We will take an appropriate action against the concerned if such lapses come out from the probe," Singh said.
Though the Congress leadership had given an instruction to the state party that it was not the time to resort to the blame game, but several leaders, including the union state home minister, RPN Singh and several party leaders from Chhattisgarh have already questioned the state government on the issue.
The Union minister of state for home termed it as a gross security lapse while the leader of the opposition in Chhattisgarh Ravindra Choubey questioned the lack of security to the convoy of the "who's who" in the state Congress, who were returning from Sukma Keshlur after holding a "parivartan" rally ahead of the October state elections.
Lashing out at the BJP government, Choubey even demanded immediately imposing the President's rule in the state.
The union minister of state for Agriculture, Charandas Mahant also blamed the state government for the killings and held the Raman Singh government responsible.
"If the DGP claimed that adequate security measures, including sanitise the area, were adopted there, why this incident happened? He also criticised the state government for discrimination of providing security to the Congress leaders.
It was said that only personal security personnel of Congress leaders accompanied them during their tour.