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BackYou are here: NewsIndia Prime Minister rejects opposing voices within ruling party

India

Prime Minister rejects opposing voices within ruling party

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, too, has distanced himself from Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh’s stand over the Naxal problem on Wednesday saying that there cannot be any concessions to those challenging the authority of the Indian state.

The prime minister, who has consistently described Naxalism as the gravest internal security threat to India, told civil servants at a function in the Capital that said that recent events had underscored the need for urgent and considered action to root out the problem.

“No quarter can be given to those who have taken upon themselves to challenge the authority of the Indian state and the fabric of our democratic polity,” the prime minister said. The prime minister’s statements, made at the Civil Services Day function, comes on the heels of Union home minister P Chidambaram sticking to his stand in Parliament on the UPA government’s tough approach to tacking the Naxal problem.

The parliamentary debate over the Maoist attack in Dantewada had come within days of Mr Digvijay Singh speaking up against Mr Chidambaram’s “law and order” centric approach to the Naxal menace. It has also included a personal attack on the home minister for his “intellectual arrogance”.

“He (Mr Chidambaram) is treating it (the Maoist upsurge) purely as a law and order problem without taking into consideration issues that affect the tribals,” Mr Singh had written in a signed article in ET. Mr Chidambaram’s statement in Parliament reflected the Congress high command’s backing for the home minister’s line and had helped quash speculation of a rift between the government and the party over tacking Naxalism.

The PM, in his speech, also admitted that Naxalism flourished in under-developed areas and asked the civil servants to devise innovative ways to ensure that the benefits of the government’s ambitious development programmes reached the people.

“But we cannot overlook the fact that many areas in which such extremism flourishes are under-developed and many of the people, mainly poor tribals, who live in these areas have not shared equitably in the fruits of development...It is incumbent upon us to ensure that no area of our country is denied the benefits of our ambitious developmental programmes,” the PM said.

He stressed that inclusive growth was the centerpiece of the developmental agenda of the UPA government and robust economic growth provided the government with resources to address the problems of poverty and disease.

However, the PM once again reiterated that Left-wing extremism was the gravest internal security threat faced by India. The PM’s statement reflects the government’s move to take the Naxal challenge head-on in the wake of the Dantewada attack in which 76 CRPF jawans lost their lives. Naxalites also opened fire on five separate CRPF camps in quick succession in Dantewada district on Tuesday night.

Though a section of Congress has made a strong bid to highlight the socio-economic aspect of the problem and make a distinction between the Maoists and the tribals who come under their sway — as indeed Mr Singh had done — the party leadership has been backing Mr Chidambaram’s and the government’s “clear, hold, build” strategy for Naxal infested areas.

(Economic Times, 22nd April)