The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) expressed concern over growing naxal violence and said it had become an election issue with the Congress maintaining that the reason for the menace was poverty and maladministration and not ideological factors.

Accusing the Congress of “diluting and merely debating the issues” instead of addressing them on the ground, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said, “Earlier when we talked about terror they would talk about secularism. Now when we raise the issue of naxalism, Congress says it is due to poverty and maladministration.”

The country has seen a spurt in naxal violence with the latest incident being in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, where 17 policemen were killed.

However, the BJP MP denied that naxalism had “hijacked” other issues during the elections in Maharashtra, where assembly polls were held on Tuesday.

“It would be very difficult to say naxalism has hijacked the elections. But what they are doing is impacting the elections,” Mr. Rudy said.

He said Congress was speaking in different voices on the issue and maintaining ideology was not the reason behind naxalism.

“There are contradictions within the Congress on the issue,” he said, adding, “they are not sincere in tackling it”.

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