Ready to say sorry to Chidambaram: Digvijay Singh
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Last Updated: Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 21:26
  
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh has said he was ready to express regret if his criticism of Home Minister P Chidambaram's handling of Maoist problem has hurt him deeply.

"If it has hurt, I am prepared to say sorry and withdraw my remarks...He is a friend of mine, we have worked together and I would not like to hurt his feelings...I had made an honest comment, which I thought I should. But if it has hurt him deeply, then I am sorry," Singh said.

In a newspaper article last month, Singh, AICC General Secretary, had called Chidambaram as "rigid" and "intellectually arrogant" while questioning his approach to fight the Maoists.

The Congress leader termed the Maosists as "misguided ideologues" but said they cannot be equated with cross-border terrorists.

"No one can defend their criminal activities. But they are not terrorists. They are those people who have committed acts of crime which have to be dealt with firmly and decisively. But at the same time, you cannot equate them with cross border terrorists, Singh told a private news channel.

Taking a sympathetic view of the issues which Maoists raise, the Congress leader said "I have no quarrel...They are genuine, they are relevant. Ultimately, it is the people who matter. But the point is that their strategy and their metodology is condemnable and not acceptable at all."

Singh condemned the violence perpetrated by Maoists, their theory of armed struggle, design to overthrow India's political system saying it was "totally unacceptable" but said the issues raised by them have to be taken into account.

Asked whether he viewed Maoists as enemies of India, Singh said they certainly do not believe in the democratic system of the country but said they can't be described as enemies of the country. "Can't say enemies. No," he said.

To another question whether Maoists were the single biggest security threat facing the country, the Congress leader said they are certainly a security threat which has to be tackled in a way in which the confidence of the people in the area is won.

Singh, a former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, said a multi-pronged strategy has to be adopted against Maoists.

"I am very happy that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have accepted that you can't send the army, you can't send the Air Force and we cannot defeat them militarily," he said, adding the PM told him that it has to be a multi-pronged strategy that has to be implemented together.

Singh, who is in-charge of the party affairs in Uttar Pradesh, said there was a perceptible change in thinking now (on tackling Maoists) and in a debate in Parliament, most of the MPs took this line (multi pronged strategy).

Asked whether he has been influential in changing the decision of Chidambaram (adopting a multi-pronged strategy), the Congress leader said he does not claim that credit.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 21:26


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