Face-to-face: CM Raman Singh on Bijapur, Maoists and support
“We have won the confidence of the people in Maoist-hit areas” says CM Singhindia Updated: Dec 18, 2015 00:26 IST
Raman Singh is the only BJP chief minister after Narendra Modi to have completed 12 years in office. While he may not have any critics within his own party, Singh is yet to build a strong political team. What has also helped him all these years is the infighting within the opposition Congress. Raman Singh spoke to HT correspondent Eijaz Kaiser. Excerpts from the interview:
Even after 12 years as CM, left-wing extremism continues to be your major challenge. Are you rethinking your counter-Maoist strategy?
Winning the confidence of the people in the affected areas was our biggest achievement. Due to this, the vast Sarguja region in north Chhattisgarh is now free from Maoist problem. In Bastar, too, the rebels are confined to a limited area. Massive surrender of their cadres and simultaneous development with area domination have eroded the morale of the Maoists. Greater connectivity and infrastructure have made a difference. It’s a difficult terrain and porous inter-state borders work to their advantage. This year alone 268 km of roads have been built in interior areas and our target for next year is 500 km.
What about the allegations of human rights violations in the Maoist-infested areas? Two journalists are also in jail.
We remain concerned about the rights of those affected by any atrocity or violence. The schools, angandwadi centres, roads, bridges, health centres were destroyed by whom? What about the rights of hapless poor tribals? Almost 40 lakh of them are virtually living life as hostage, we should be sensitive to all. Why ignore the brutal punishments in Maoist’s jan adalat? If someone’s rights get infringed the court is there to ensure justice. Bastar Journalists Association too has distanced itself from the issue.
What are your major achievements and failures, if any?
Our food security scheme has emerged as a model; infrastructure development, turning north Chhattisgarh free from Maoist influence, creation of capital city Naya Raipur, all these have given us national recognition. The only wish remaining is ensuring total peace in Bastar. Efforts are on and we will succeed.
Do controversial statements by Sangh Parivar members threaten the image of BJP governments?
Why are such statements needlessly being attributed to the BJP? Any remark by leaders of some frontal organisations might not necessarily be the stand of the BJP. I believe everyone should be on guard to avoid statements that hurts the sentiments of others.
Is intolerance growing in the country after the formation of the Modi government?
Some people are trying to create such an impression. But the spirit of tolerance is very much rooted in the DNA of Indians. States ruled by BJP and NDA alliance partners have a better record of religious and communal harmony.