The Left parties “persuaded” the government to soften the resolution on the Maoist issue that was eventually passed “unanimously” at the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday.
The two Left MPs present, the CPI (M)’s Basudev Acharia and the CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta, reportedly ensured the insertion of the phrase “redress any sense of alienation” in the sentence that finally read: “We assure them that the governments will be sensitive to their concerns and redress any sense of alienation and the injustices of the past.”
Evidently, the meeting that eventually passed a “unanimous” resolution was able to do so only after the Left’s objections to the tough line taken by the Congress and the BJP were taken on board. The peacemaker, according to a participant at the meeting, was Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
The meeting began with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s opening statement that laid emphasis on the need to focus on police action to deal with the Maoists, which received ready support from the two BJP leaders present — Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
Ms. Swaraj said that had the Centre implemented the tough measures suggested by Mr. Chidambaram when he was Home Minister the massacre in Chhattisgarh that saw the virtual extermination of the Congress’ top leadership in the State on May 25 would never have happened.
Ms. Swaraj’s speech was preceded by those given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, both of which had spoken of a multi-pronged approach to the Maoist problem. SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati also spoke of the need to address the grievances of the local people so as not to provide a cause for the growth of Maoism.
But when the two leaders from Uttar Pradesh finished speaking, a draft resolution was produced and shown to Mr. Jaitley for his approval. Mr. Shinde told all those present that since the two BJP leaders needed to leave to attend a party meeting, this was necessary.
It was at this point that the two Left leaders objected to the procedure, pointing out that if it was to be an all-party resolution, then everyone must agree to the draft — not just the BJP.
After seeing the draft, Mr. Acharya first wanted an entire paragraph added that would include mention of the rapes of tribal women, sometimes by the SPOs — that apparently did not find favour. Then Mr. Dasgupta said there should at least be some mention of the fact that there had been alienation of the tribal people because of a lack of governance, and this was creating fertile ground for breeding Maoism. To this, Mr. Jaitley said there was no need to rationalise violence.
At this point, the Left MPs threatened to vote against the resolution, as the word “terrorist” was being freely bandied about, apparently used both by the Home Minister and the BJP leaders. Their point was that the Maoists were Indian citizens, not people who had come from across the border. Eventually, Mr. Chidambaram stepped in, made the necessary change in the draft — and a unanimous resolution was the result.