New Delhi: Amid divergent views within the Congress on tackling Maoists, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said that Naxals are political elements out to
capture power and the issue of development was "more imaginary than actual".
"Development is needed. Lack of development may swell
their (Naxals`) cadre. But they do not run charitable
institutions ...They are political elements and want to
capture the power of the state," Mukherjee said.
He was addressing a seminar on `Development in Red
Corridor` organised by a Hindi daily.
Recent months have witnessed Congress leaders like
Digvijay Singh and Keshav Rao differing with the approach of
Home Minister P Chidambaram on tackling the Naxal issue with
Singh emphasising that it should not be merely treated as a
law and order problem.
The finance minister, however, clarified that his opinion
was neither of the government nor of the Congress party but
He said the Maoists do not believe in democratic system
which would ultimately prevail and for development plans in
Naxal-hit areas, a conducive environment is required.
"They don`t believe in democratic system. They think
power comes out from the barrel of the gun but ultimately the
democratic system would prevail," he said.
The minister, however, said that there is need to correct
Rejecting the proposition of existence of a red corridor
from Pashupatinath in Nepal to Tirupati, he said, "the
proposition is difficult to accept" and termed it as largely
ephemeral. "There is an element of romanticism in using these
phrases and these are erroneous conclusions," he said.
Recalling the Naxal movement in Kolkata and West Bengal
in the early 1970s, Mukherjee said that he thought that it
would never end.
"It did not last long and cannot last long," he remarked,
adding that the issue is simplified when it is said that the
Maoist violence was due to lack of development and lack of
opportunities and basic amenities in these areas. This is not
the sole reason, the minister said.
"This is more imaginary than actual," he added.
Mukherjee admitted that in certain pockets, the writ
of the government does not run, pointing out that the Maoists
consider them equal to the government and want to replace the
government with the help of guns.
"They have never given up the theory of power through the
barrel of the gun," he said, adding that they do not believe
in democratic system and multi-party democracy.
He said the Maoist leaders have not gone to the tribal
areas to protect the tribals but have gone there to capture
the state power with gun.