It is nothing short of a declaration of war against India, says BJP

The Maoist attack at Dantewada saw the two main political parties – the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party – in a role reversal of sorts.

While the Congress wondered whether a political solution was not the better option, the BJP said the attack was nothing short of a declaration of war against the nation and must be dealt with as such.

Congress media in-charge Janardan Dwivedi said: “Whatever happened is most inhuman, condemnable and an attack on India's civil society … it is a challenge to our democratic system. All State governments must tackle the problem with all the seriousness it deserves and cooperate with the Centre.”

However, privately, senior Congressmen felt that Home Minister P. Chidambaram had unnecessarily used provocative language like “we will wipe them out” when talking about Naxals. It was pointed out that the Congress Working Committee resolution on the subject speaks of a political solution as also an option. One leader said terrorism and Naxalism could not be dealt alike. Negotiation was an option in dealing with Naxals and one cannot forget that they enjoyed some support from people.

The BJP, on the other hand, made it clear it stood solidly with the Home Minister and the State governments fighting Naxalism. It was a war which “we must fight to the finish,” party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, echoing what the Home Minister has been saying.

The BJP did not see the issue politically, but wanted the government to take every step possible to end the continuing deadly attacks by Naxals bleeding the country internally. “We are fighting on our borders, and inside the country we are fighting Naxalism. It is a war, which must be fought and won. The country is under threat. Naxal attacks were not a string of separate incidents,” Mr. Rudy said.

Acutely conscious of the fact that the latest deadly attack occurred in Chhattisgarh, ruled by the BJP, Mr. Rudy was not for debate and discussion with Naxal leaders. That time was over, he said.

He did not want to discuss the ‘salwa judum' experiment in Chhattisgarh that has been criticised by many civil rights groups.

Of the 230 districts in the country affected by Naxalism, as many as 90 were seriously affected, Mr. Rudy pointed out. “We have to learn to hit them hard. The country is angry, very angry. We have to finish them and stop the loss of innocent lives.”

Chidambaram blamed

Mr. Rudy did not want to be drawn into commenting on the recent exchange of words between Home Minister P. Chidambaram and the West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya on where the “buck” stops on this question. However, late in the evening, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley took on Mr. Chidambaram, saying the “buck” definitely stops on the Home Minister's table.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) chose to remain silent on Tuesday while indicating that it would find out more about what had happened and then react.

More In: National | News | States