Kolkata: Maoist activities in West Bengal cannot be fully controlled if similar security operations are not launched in neighbouring Jharkhand and Orissa, says Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
"It won`t be possible for us to fully check Maoist activities in our state till a similar security operation is started in Jharkhand and Orissa," Bhattacharjee told Bengali news channel `Chobbis Ghanta` Wednesday night.
He added that there was no need to deploy the army to check the Left radicals. "I don`t need the army to tackle Maoists. The police are already working (in Maoist-infested areas)."
Bhattacharjee`s comments came hours after Maoists blew up a vehicle killing five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in West Midnapore district.
The troopers and the state police were conducting a joint operation in West Midnapore`s rebel-hit belts like Lalgarh and Jhargram.
"I can say one thing that Maoist activities would not have taken place in the state if it did not share its border with Orissa and Jharkhand," the chief minister said.
Stressing the need to mobilise people against the Maoists, Bhattacharjee said the state government was paying special attention to usher in development in Maoist pockets. "We are taking care of the public distribution system, drinking water facilities, schooling in those areas."
The Maoists are mainly active in the three western districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.
Asked if socio-economic backwardness was the cause for the Maoist menace, he said: "Socio-economic backwardness is of course one of the reasons, but I feel Maoists have chosen that zone more because it is geographically a difficult terrain."
Bhattacharjee asserted that while anti-Maoist security operations would continue, socio-economic initiatives have to be carried on for finding a permanent solution to the problem.
Is the ruling Left Front losing its support base? "In (last year`s) Lok Sabha election, we lost 15 lakh supporters. We are analysing why we lost so many supporters."
Asked whether minority votes had drifted away from the party, he said: "The question is not whether it was the Muslim or SC (Scheduled Caste) votes... I think we need to be more active at the Panchayat level."