Tackling Naxals: After Cong, BJP seems divided too

After dissent voices from the Congress over tackling the Maoist menace, BJP on Thursday seemed to be in a similar mode with Gujarat CM earlier favouring talks and later ‘clarifying’ his remark.

Last Updated: May 20, 2010, 23:41 PM IST

New Delhi/Aligarh: After dissent voices from the Congress over tackling the Maoist menace, BJP on Thursday seemed to be in a similar mode with Gujarat CM earlier favouring talks and later ‘clarifying’ his remark.

"I want to say that government should take strong action
against Naxals and killing of innocent people cannot be
allowed," he told reporters in New Delhi after meeting
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

"Any tendency to destroy the society with arms cannot be
accepted. Whether it is the Centre or the states, such things
should be eliminated completely," he said.

His comments came just hours after he said at an
interaction with students at Mangalayatan University in
Aligarh that Naxalite youths "are our own" and that "we have
to make them understand that talks are the only way and
killing people is not going to solve any problem."
Clarifying the remarks made in Aligarh, Modi said, "The
question asked to me was in the context of those youth (who
have taken to arms) and this was my advise to the youth.

"I was neither asked what the government should do nor
did I reply on the issue," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.

Modi said he was asked what was his message to the youth
who had taken to the path of violence.

"My answer was that I will request the youth that
violence will never change the situation. They should leave
arms and within the constitutional framework, they should
raise their voice in the right forums to solve their
problems," he said.

Modi had said, "These youths are our own. We should make
them understand that violence is not a solution to any
problem."

The remarks made in Aligarh came as a surprise to many as
BJP has been advocating strong action against the Naxals.

The party also kept distance from Modi’s remarks. "Our position is very clear. First we need to reclaim the
territory under Naxal control, then ensure the safety and
security of the people, then work on development of the area
and restoration of civil administration," BJP spokesperson
Nirmala Sitharaman said.

After the Naxals blew up a passenger bus in Dantewada
last week, the BJP made a strong pitch for firm action against
them. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had
said a "half battle against Maoists can never succeed" and
rubbished arguments that lack of development was the prime
cause of Naxalism.

Modi’s episode came after Chhattisgarg CM yesterday said that a softline towards Naxals was of no use. He today said, however, that he was with the Centre on the issue.

-PTI