In TMC raj, Centre may need to tweak strategy on Maoists

How would the Union Home Ministry deal with the left-wing extremists in the state under the TMC ? Soon after her land-slide victory TMC leader Mamata Banerjee claimed that CPM cadres were perpetuating violence.

“Internal differences within CPM is causing violence”, said Banerjee, the chief minister-in-waiting, prior to her meeting with the state governor on Friday.

Banerjee as a cabinet minister has been making discordant notes when Union Home Minister P Chidambaram sought State government to adopt  a pro-active approach to curb Maoist violence in the state. Chidambaram had also criticised the CPM Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya for his failure to establish law and order and in reining in “ the Reds”.

Now that the TMC’s “green” is in the control of Writers building at Kolkata, Chidambaram will have to change his political foot-work in dealing with Banerjee. In the recent past, Banerjee had denied Left-extremists having a role in incidents of derailing of train s and bomb blasts in the state and attributed them to “the CPM conspiracy”.

The Union Home Ministry had then maintained a pregnant silence on the railway minister’s comment. It is widely believed that Maoist elements were tactically used first by the CPM and thereafter by the TMC to suit their political designs and strategy.

The protests and violence in Singur and Nandigram had the obvious imprint of the Naxals. In a way Congress-ruled UPA has not been consistent with the anti-Maoist approach in all the nine states heavily affected by the Naxal violence.

Supporting Salva Judum

In Chattisgarh it started by supporting ‘Salva Judum’ ( roping in of tribal-civilian population to fight Maoists) but reversed its policy after facing criticism from  civil rights group as well as the Supreme Court.

The policy of raising Special Police Officers (SPOs) (surrendered Maoists) has recently been sharply questioned by the Supreme Court. The Home minister, however, has backed the SPOs battalion, money for which is provided by the Centre.

TMC’s entry hand-in-hand with the Congress in West-Bengal would further complicate the anti-Naxal strategy of the Centre which has been blowing hot and cold on the issue, depending on the colour of the dispensation in the states.

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