Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Thursday dismissed a suggestion that there was any difference between him and Home Minister P Chidambaram on the issue of tackling Maoists and said they were working in tandem.
“There is no difference (of opinion) between the Chhattisgarh government and the Centre. There is no difference between the State and Central forces and there is no difference between my thinking and that of Chidambaram in dealing with the Maoists,” he told reporters after a meeting with the Home Minister here.
The Chief Minister said all concerned wanted a solution to the Naxal problem, which is a challenge to democracy, and there should be development and peace for which everyone was working.
“There are limitations of the states, there are limitations of the Central government. I discussed all these issues with the Home Minister and how to solve it,” he said.
Mr. Singh said his meeting with Chidambaram was a “good one” and they had a lengthy discussion about the incidents which had taken place in the last one month in Chhattisgarh.
“There is good cooperation and coordination between the state government and Centre as well as the state police and Central paramilitary forces. We have also discussed the joint operations being undertaken in the last two years,” he said.
The Chief Minister said they have discussed issues being pursued by the Chhattisgarh government and also about the status of the Central forces and how to get Central support on future development plans.
Asked whether he sought any additional forces, Singh said “for a state like Chhattisgarh, we always look for more forces but Central government provides forces on the basis of availability and requirement of the state. If they can provide by making some arrangement, that would be good. Chidambaram too has said that if possible, more forces would be provided to us“.
On Gujarat Chief Minister and fellow BJP leader Narendra Modi’s suggestion that there should be talks with the Maoists, Singh said no one was shying away from holding dialogue with the Naxals.
“We have even announced better surrender policy. We have said that if there is any initiative for talks, Chhattisgarh would not shy away from it. But the key issue is if you are inviting some one for talks, he has to have faith in democracy. One can’t sit in a dialogue by holding guns in his hand,” he said.
Mr. Singh said if there was an initiative for peace, no state, including Chhattisgarh, would back out of it and he has no hesitation in keeping the option of dialogue always open.
“There is no difference on the thinking between Narendra Modi and me. We are for taking strong action. But if there is any initiative for talks at the national level or at any level, I personally, or the Chhattisgarh government would not back out of it,” he said.