No differences with Nitish on tackling Maoists: Swaraj

The BJP today said it had no differences with key ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the issue of tackling Naxalism as both favoured that "action and talks" with the extremists should go hand in hand.

New Delhi: The BJP today said it had no
differences with key ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish
Kumar on the issue of tackling Naxalism as both favoured that
"action and talks" with the extremists should go hand in hand.

"There is no difference between BJP`s and JD(U)`s
approach," senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said following the
release of three policemen kidnapped a week ago by the Maoists
in Lakhisarai.

The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha said that though
Nitish Kumar had offered to hold talks with the captors, he
was "simultaneously preparing for armed action.

"He had asked the Centre for four companies of
paramilitary forces. Till yesterday they (government) did not
know whether the policemen would be released. One cannot say
that Nitish`s policy is only towards leniency or talks (with
Maoists). Results will not always be the same as today,"
Swaraj told reporters here.

Kumar and his party JD(U)- a close ally of BJP-- have
often been accused of being soft towards Maoists.

"BJP has never been against talks. But we ask them
(Maoists) to shun violence first and then come for talks.
There is no difference between BJP`s and JD(U)`s approach.
Suppose the Maoists had not released these policemen then
Nitish would have gone for talks," Swaraj said.

She maintained that even the Centre holds talks with
terrorists.

"When action and talks go together then the talks yield
better results. This policy has been successful in Bihar," she
said.

Swaraj insisted that even during NDA rule, the policy
was one of action and talks going together.

Fielding a range of questions on issues including the
UPA regime`s performance in Parliament and her relations with
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the BJP leader said, "Our
statement about dynastic politics in the Congress was not
against Mrs Gandhi per se. It was against the Congress and how
it was perpetuating dynasty. A party which was part of the
freedom struggle...."

Asked about her equations with Gandhi, against whom
she unsuccessfully contested in Bellary in 1999, Swaraj said,
"I have no personal enmity with her. But I am still against a
foreigner becoming Prime Minister. To oppose it was my duty to
the nation. I still stand by it and I am proud of it."

She maintained that her gesture of walking up to Gandhi
recently in the Lok Sabha to enquire about her mother`s health
was out of "courtesy".

Swaraj was critical of the Congress-led government,
especially the Prime Minister`s statement that 37 per cent of
the population was below poverty line and it was not possible
to distribute free grains to all the poor.

"If the government cannot distribute foodgrains then
why are they talking about a food security bill. As for how to
distribute the foodgrains, they can learn from the
Chhattisgarh government. The rations are distributed on the
seventh of every month and MLAs and public servants ensure it
is done smoothly and fairly," Swaraj said.

The food security should be extended to APL families
also, she added.

However, she praised the government for reaching out to
the opposition on important legislations in Parliament, unlike
in UPA-I when the main opposition was ignored.

On the issue of illegal mining and her support to
the Reddy brothers, she said her party`s stand was very clear
that export of iron ore should be "totally banned" and value
addition to it should be done within the country.

"I stood by the Bellary brothers as when I went to
Bellary to contest against Sonia Gandhi, the constituency was
a Congress bastion. The party had won the seat 12 times. I
breached their fortress. The Bellary brothers later helped BJP
not only win the Lok Sabha constituency but also nine of the
ten Vidhan Sabha seats there," she said.

"My blessings to them are only for their political
contribution. In the last 11 years, I have not taken even 11
paise from them. Not even a single paisa was contributed from
Bellary to me. Hence when the party asked me to talk to them
to save our government in Karnataka, I used these relations
with them," she added.

On the recent controversy about selection of a new
CVC, she said she had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
Home Minister P Chidambaram to choose any of the other two
members in the three-member panel but they were adamant on
Telecom Secretary P J Thomas.

"I said I am not blacklisting him. You can reward him
with some other post but post of CVC should go to some
untainted officer. I told them that you have chosen the panel,
give me the liberty to choose the CVC. Then I suggested we
defer the meeting and enlarge the panel but they said it had
to be done today," Swaraj said.

She gave a dissent note on the selection of Thomas.

Swaraj claimed that there had been a great improvement
in the image of BJP and it was reaching out to people in all
corners of the country.

PTI

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