Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Friday denied he supported Maoists or their violence, saying his remark had been "presented wrongly".
"I never supported Maoists and their violence. My remark was presented wrongly by media," he told media persons in Patna. Blaming lack of development for spread of Maoism across the country, the former railway minister said the only way to check Maoists was to carry out development work in the neglected and backward areas to weaken their sympathisers and supporters.
"The government should focus on implementing poverty alleviation schemes like MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan honestly and the benefits should reach the rural poor, particularly poorest of the poor tribals and Dalits," he said.
Controversy was sparked off after Lalu Prasad was Thursday reported to have said that Maoists never target common people but only those who spied for police. The remark was in reference to recent spurt in Maoist activity in Chhattisgarh and Maoist attack on a bus two days ago killing common people as well.
He had also blamed Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who has described Maoists as "biggest terrorists", for the spread of Maoism in his state. Lalu Prasad had also criticised his political rival and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for "failure" to tackle Maoists in the state.