New Delhi: A Maoist ideologue has claimed that Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh tried to open a secret channel with the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist). But the Congress leader has denied this.
Speaking to the New Delhi-based Open weekly magazine, Tusharkant Bhattacharya said he was approached by Digvijay Singh in August last year through a Hyderabad-based Congress leader.
Bhattacharya, one of the most senior ideologues in the CPI-Maoist, was in Warangal jail in Andhra Pradesh then, facing trial in a case in which the co-accused included Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathi, now the supreme commander of the CPI-Maoist.
Bhattacharya says that on behalf of his party he told the intermediary that they would not speak to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Home Minister P Chidambaram because they were mere "bureaucrats" but were ready to speak to "mass leaders" like Digvijay Singh.
He said he had scheduled a meeting with Digvijay Singh at a hospital in Hyderabad. But before it could take place, Andhra Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy died in a helicopter crash and the meeting got shelved, according to the magazine.
Bhattacharya, who was released from the jail in November 2009, says that Digvijay Singh sent him his personal contact details, including his mobile number and e-mail ID, the magazine added.
But in January this year, Bhattacharya was arrested again and his mobile phone seized.
When contacted by the magazine, Digvijay Singh denied contacting any CPI-Maoist leader. But it said "circumstantial details lend credence to the fact that such an approach was made".
The Indian government has repeatedly called for talks with the CPI-Maoist, provided the guerrillas agree to give up violence. But the offer of talks has subsided since the Maoists massacred 76 security personnel April 6 in a forested region of Chhattisgarh.
Digvijay Singh recently criticised Chidambaram`s approach towards the Maoist insurgency, calling the minister arrogant.