Drop guns, join poll politics: Ramesh to Maoists



Malkangiri (Odisha): After a visit to one of Odisha's worst hit Naxal-affected pockets, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today asked Maoists to drop guns and join electoral politics if they are sincere about development of tribals.

Ramesh also pooh-poohed Maoists' claims of being saviours of the tribals and the poor, saying they are in fact derailing development by resorting to violence.

"No problem can be solved at gun-point. If Maoists are sincere about development of the tribals and serve the poor, let them abjure violence, join social mainstream, participate in electoral politics and contest elections", the minister said, winding up his two-day visit to the Naxal-hit district.

"Despite their tall claims of being saviours of tribals and the poor, Maoists are in fact derailing development, deviating from ideology and denying the people of their basic rights," Ramesh said during an interaction with officials, people's representatives and journalists here.

Denouncing the violence perpetrated by Maoists, the Union Minister said every one has the right to live in a democracy and the law is equal for all.

The developmental activities are being derailed by Maoists as in the face of threats no one is coming forward to undertake work resulting in unspent funds.

With Maoists obstructing development projects, the local administration also appeared to be washing off its hands. "How long will this continue?", he said, favouring allotment of those works to the people themselves.

The responsibility of undertaking developmental works, small or big, should be entrusted to village panchayats and youths should come forward for this. The administration would provide all help, he said.

Describing tribals as "very honest and simple", the union minister said they were being seen as gullible and misled by the Maoists.

PTI