In its first public utterance on the Maoist utterance on the Maoist ambush on party workers in Chhattisgarh, the Congress on Tuesday demanded Chief Minister Raman Singh’s resignation blaming his government for the security lapse and the “crony capitalists’’ for funding the Naxals in the state.
Taking a rather Left-leaning view, the Congress lashed out at the “private companies” for “heavily funding Naxalism’’ in Chhattisgarh to keep the local people, in areas like Bastar, in a state of panic so that they do not become hurdles in way of making profits from tribal land, water, forest and mines.
According to the party, if it were the Chhattisgarh Government which was to be blamed for the “laxity in providing security to the Congress leaders’’, it was the growth of “crony capitalism’’ that was to be blamed for creating the breeding ground for left-wing extremism in the state.
Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das, who was earlier the party in-charge for Chhattisgarh, barely managed to hide the party’s anger at the killing of not just three key state leaders-- Nanda Kumar Patel, Mahendra Karma and Uday Mudilar-- but also the deaths of several of its workers.
The slaying of the Chhattisgarh PCC chief seems to have left a vacuum in the state Congress leadership. Under Patel, the party was hopeful of turning the tide against the naxals in the insurgency-hit Bastar.
In the last two elections, the BJP had managed to pip the Congress in the polls on the basis its good performance in the Bastar belt. Much of the Congress’ aggressive campaign, the now stalled ‘Parivartan Yatra’, was being staged in the region, apparently as part of the party’s collective “political engagement strategy’’ with the tribals.
The Congress also raised questions on the security lapses and intelligence failure which resulted in the naxals getting prior information about the party’s programme.
“The lack of a comprehensive security plan and a neglect of safety procedures allowed a large group of well-armed Maoists to massacre the party men,’’ Das said.
However, the party stopped short of calling for President’s rule in Chhattisgarh. Asked why it took the Congress two days to demand the CM’s resignation, Das said his party had expected him to resign on his own.