Home Minister P. Chidambaram clarified in the Lok Sabha on Thursday that he had earlier tendered his resignation owning moral responsibility for the “horrible” Dantewada tragedy and not because he had lost his nerve or will power. He reassured the House that he would continue providing leadership in fighting the Naxal menace.

Replying to a six-hour long debate on the Dantewada massacre of CRPF personnel, Mr. Chidambaram almost broke down, and in a choked voice said: “I didn't lose my nerve. I didn't lose my will power. I don't fear the Naxalites,” and continued “it was a horrible tragedy and I regarded it my moral responsibility to tender my resignation, so I tendered my resignation.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Chidambaram made a statement on the issue in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr. Chidambaram said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had rejected his resignation and “reposed confidence in me. I'll continue providing leadership in fighting the Naxalites.”

The Minister said his effort was to evolve a policy built on consensus and carry on the work of governance. “We must understand the nature of the challenge we face,” he said, reading out two documents of the CPI (Maoist) — put out before and after the Lok Sabha elections — in which they “described this hallowed Parliament as a pigsty and called us enemy.”

Quoting the document, he said that the intention of the CPI (Maoist) was to convert the People's Liberation Guerilla Army into the People's Liberation Army. “Let us have no illusion that they aim at seizure of political power.”

Underlining his resolve to meet the Naxal menace, Mr. Chidambaram said: “If Dantewada is not a wake-up call, nothing will be. Whatever the failures, we must make a determined, resolute and fearless effort to combat the problem. We will overcome [it] and our idea of freedom and liberty shall prevail.”

Stressing the two-pronged strategy outlined by the AICC in 2006, Mr. Chidambaram said his government would with “more compassion and dedication bring development to the people.”

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