Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has slammed Home Minister P Chidambaram's strong-arm tactics to counter Maoists, saying development is the key to resolving the problem, which should not be treated as a law and order issue.
"The Centre must go beyond giving advice or sending central forces..it should provide intelligence and resources for development," he said in an interview to Outlook magazine.
Kumar's criticism comes close on the heels of Congress leader Digvijay Singh who described Chidambaram as extremely rigid and accused him of not taking into consideration the effect on people, particularly tribals, living in the affected areas while dealing with Maoists.
Singh had also accused Chidambaram of treating Maoists issue purely as a law and order problem.
The chief minister said there must be mutual respect between the Centre, as a facilitator, and the states, which should be helped in development of roads, schools and health centres.
Kumar hit out at Chidambaram for suggesting that Bihar was not cooperating with his ministry's drive against the Maoists.
"Chidambaram has created an impression that some states are not cooperating with the Centre. This needs to be corrected," he said.
Kumar said a fuss was made because he didn't attend the Kolkata meeting convened recently by the Home Minister to discuss threat.
"We were in Delhi. It could have been held there. As CM, I have many responsibilities. I can't remain engaged in one job. Once the overall policy is declared, two states can coordinate on inter-state operations," he said.
Kumar said the chief minister could not be head of the police force. He should be giving policy directions, not micromanage police operations.
Asked how the Maoist problem could be resolved, he said all disadvantaged sections must get their rightful share and they must be part of the growth process.
"They have to feel they are at an advantage by being part of the democratic process, which in turn will create the right atmosphere for police operations. And police action must take place without human rights violations. The Maoists can't be finished off through force alone," he said.Kumar said he disagreed with those who dubbed Maoists as criminals. "Without ideological motivation at the higher levels, you can't have such a movement," he said, but added that he disagreed with the approach of Maoists wanting power through violence.