ANDHRA PRADESH

`We gave them a chance, but they chose armed struggle'

SMALL BOND: A girl V. Navya Pratyusha tying a rakhi to Minister for Commercial Taxes Konathala Ramakrishna at Visakhapatnam Steel Plant's Hill-top guest house on the occasion of Rakhi Pournami. Minister for Health K. Rosaiah is also seen.

SMALL BOND: A girl V. Navya Pratyusha tying a rakhi to Minister for Commercial Taxes Konathala Ramakrishna at Visakhapatnam Steel Plant's Hill-top guest house on the occasion of Rakhi Pournami. Minister for Health K. Rosaiah is also seen.  

Rosaiah justifies re-imposition of ban on naxalite outfits

Staff Reporter

ANAKAPALLE: Finance Minister K. Rosaiah on Friday denied pressure from any quarters and blamed the Maoists themselves for the re-imposition of the ban on extremist outfits.

In an informal chat with reporters at Sampathpuram, near here, after inaugurating a steel rolling mill, he said that the Government imposed the ban "with a lot of pain and anguish'' after giving the Maoists a chance to join the mainstream.

Explaining the reasons for clamping the ban on the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and its frontal organisations, he said: "We gave them a chance for a negotiated settlement by inviting them for a dialogue. They came for the first round talks but later declared in no uncertain terms that arms struggle was indispensable.''

Mr. Rosaiah said that in a democracy, anything could be achieved through discussions and cited how the US and its sworn enemies Russia and China had developed friendly ties.

As part of their pre-poll promise, the Rajasekhara Reddy Government created a conducive climate to invite the naxalites for talks. But they refused to lay down arms. "Still we waited with patience.

But the gunning down of our MLA Ch. Narsi Reddy and eight others on the Independence Day came as the last straw that broke our back.''

He said that they had consulted the Centre before taking the decision and felt that there was no need for holding an all-party meeting.

Owing to divergent views, reaching a consensus on the ban was not possible. There was no other intention for not convening an all-party meet, he averred.

Asked to justify the ban on a writers organisation like Viplava Rachayitala Sangham (VIRASAM), he declined to comment. To a question, he denied having any intention to force journalists to act as police informers. "As law-abiding citizens, we only wish them to part with information if they come to know about the activity of naxalites and other outlaws,'' he said.

Revenue deficit

Thanking World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz for denying any condition-linked loan to Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Rosaiah said that it was also not true that the ban on naxalites was imposed to appease the World Bank bosses.

On the advice of 12th Finance Commission Chairman C. Rangarajan, "We have decided to achieve zero revenue deficit by March 2009.''

Once the State achieved zero revenue deficit, the Government would be eligible to get Central grant to the tune of Rs.6,830 crores over a period of five years.

Blaming the Telugu Desam Government for using World Bank loans on non-productive schemes, Mr. Rosaiah said that by putting the funds in asset creation like irrigation and other infrastructure projects, the revenue deficit could be reduced in phases.

He said that the Government was credited with reducing the projected revenue deficit in the budget for 2004-05 from Rs.1,901 crores to Rs.1,462 crores. "The projection for this fiscal is Rs.1,452 crores, which we want to bring down further by the end of March 2006,'' he added.

Recommended for you