It is unfortunate that the Congressmen are still fighting among themselves on the question of confronting the Maoist threat to national security. It was many years ago in November 2004 that the UPA Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh informed the country about the Maoist threat, terming it the “gravest” internal security problem facing the country.
Since then the Maoist violence increased manifold both in the quantum of casualty rate and geographic spread, but the centre has only been sending out confused signals. It is a serious breach of the government’s commitment to protect the life and property of its citizens that the Prime Minister miserably failed to address the Maoist menace. The UPA approach was one of shifting the blame, dithering when the response needed action, and it was more keen on calculating the partisan political gains than sending out a strong message that the country was prepared to fight the Maoists unitedly and to the finish.
The series of wanton killings—the latest being the massacre of 76 security personnel in cold blood in Dantewada on April 6—should have made the Congress realise the futility of pussyfooting before the Maoist threat. The tragedy is, now many senior Congress leaders are parroting the Maoist propaganda.
This is more serious if not treacherous than the vicious Maoist attempt to subvert the state. It is not clear whether people like Digvijay Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar are fighting their inner party feud under the façade of strategy on Maoists. In fact, the centre has so far not given the impression that it has a strategy in place. In national interest, despite the suspicious record of the UPA, the opposition parties extended unreserved support to Home Minister P Chidambaram to firm up a policy against the Maoists. But he is being attacked openly by his own party colleagues in a language that has proved music to the ears of the butchers ensconced in the safety of the thick forests of Dandakaranya.
The problem is not that the Congressmen view the situation differently. It is also not that they talk with a forked tongue on most crucial issues. Of late, Congress has fashioned a strategy of playing the role of both the establishment and the opposition with the party chief appropriating fancifully the ‘god mother’ slot. It might work on certain occasions as in the case of RTI, Women’s Reservation Bill, NREGA, Food Security Bill, etc. But too often, the game becomes too boring and perhaps even counterproductive. After all, it is suicidal to systematically reduce the executive to the level of a meek, monotonous and mute rubber stamp.
This brings us to the central question: Whose battle are Digvijay and his ilk fighting? Have they started finding merit in Maoist arguments? For, only their comrades in the intellectual circuit and some so-called world citizens perched in the comfort that Indian democracy enjoins on them to pocket international awards for their insidious efforts to weaken Indian nationhood, speak this language. Digvijay Singh’s personal pique and frustration—or is it intellectual inferiority complex—should not have found its ventilation when the nation is fighting a war with its back to the wall.
There are not many genuine intellectuals in this country who are enamoured of P Chidambaram’s boorish grand standing and doublespeak. He had been a disaster as Finance Minister, and so far he has not done anything worthwhile in the Home Ministry to deserve acclaim. But in a war we cannot afford to blame the instruments in hand and lose. A seasoned politician like Digvijay Singh cannot be foolish enough to do that.
And it is this thought that makes one suspect his tirade against the Home Minister within days of the Maoist attack on security forces that shocked the nation. Is he in the same manoeuvre as in the case of Batla House arrests, raids on terrorists in Azamgarh and demanding special courts for terrorists so that they are not harassed? In all this, he was acting on a script perfected at 10, Janpath. In any case, he has gladdened the hearts of the enemies of this nation. It is high time the Congress stopped its diabolic games with the nation’s future.