Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday described Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram as an “injured martyr” after he said he was given a “limited mandate” on the issue of taking tougher action against Naxals.

Mr. Jaitley also accused UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and other top Congress leaders of supporting a “softline” towards Naxals and warned that giving a limited mandate to Mr. Chidambaram in the fight against the menace was akin to waging a losing battle.

He told reporters it is also time Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke on the Naxal issue and gave his views.

In the context of four States wanting use of air power against the Maoists, Mr. Chidambaram told a TV channel yesterday, “I took to the Cabinet Committee case for a larger mandate, I was given a limited mandate.”

Reacting to Mr. Chidambaram’s remarks, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said, “Chidambaram appeared to be an injured martyr. He looked disheartened...He claimed he had only a limited mandate from the Cabinet Committee on Security as against the larger mandate that he desired.”

Hitting out at the UPA government for waging a “half-battle” against the Maoists, Mr. Jaitley said “It is time the Prime Minister stood up and spoke on the issue and told the nation what are his views on the subject.

“Is he(Singh) only in favour of a limited mandate to fight the Maoists?,” Mr. Jaitley asked.

He asked the government whether the country would see a “half-battle” against Maoists or it will use all national security resources to eradicate Naxalism.

Referring to Ms. Gandhi’s recent letter in a Congress journal addressed to her party workers, the BJP leader alleged that it showed that she lent support to the soft line on Maoists.

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