Adding more fuel to the raging debate over tackling the Naxalite menace, Congress president Sonia Gandhi emphasised on addressing the "root cause" of the problem. The Congress has always maintained Naxalism as a socio-economic problem and asked for development initiatives in tribal areas to isolate the insurgents.
In her first remarks on the issue, after some senior leaders of the party had openly criticised the anti-Naxal approach of the UPA government, Gandhi said, "While we must address acts of terror decisively and forcefully, we have to address the root causes of Naxalism."
In her "letter to Congress persons" in the party mouthpiece Congress Sandesh, Gandhi said, "The rise of Naxalism is a reflection of the need for our development initiatives to reach the grassroots, especially in our most backward districts. This is why our government is putting in place more targeted development schemes for our most backward districts."
Recently, senior party leader Digvijay Singh wrote an article slamming Union Home Minister P Chidambaram for allegedly treating the Naxal issue as a law and order problem. He also called for a rethink of counter-Naxalite strategy.
Another party general msecretary, K Keshava Rao asked Chidambaram to emphasize on development initiatives rather than banking on the police force to curb the menace.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has also flayed Chidambaram for his anti-insurgency operations in West Bengal and asked for a halt to all security operations.
When asked about Gandhi's remarks today, Singh said there was "no difference" between the approach of the party and the government in tackling the issue.