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The government will convene an all-party meeting,possibly this week,to elicit views of the political spectrum in an attempt to forge a political consensus on the anti-Maoist strategy. The UPA leadership,which discussed the issue at a three-hour-long meeting on Monday,felt all political parties should be involved and engaged in chalking out the response to the Maoist threat.
The urgency to look at the strategy to tackle Maoists afresh arose after last months deadly attack in Chhattisgarh. The UPA coordination committee,which met at Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs residence and was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi,NCP chief Sharad Pawar,NCs Farooq Abdullah and IUMLs E Ahamed,felt the issue require broad based discussions.
The UPA coordination committee has decided to have an all-party meeting to discuss the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters after the meeting. The attack in Chhattisgarh was an attack on our democratic system and all political parties must be involved and engaged in the further course of action and the strategy to be evolved, he said.
Terming the Chhattisgarh incident as an attack on the very foundations of democracy,Nath said the Maoist problem is something which calls not only for a UPA coordination committee meeting but also an all-party meeting. Because its an attack on the system,attack on very foundations of democracy,which needs to be addressed. This incident affects our democracy and our Parliamentary norms. Hence,a discussion with all is needed so that a strategy can be formed to resolve this problem forever, he said.
The date for the all-party meeting is being worked out,as Nath said that parties are being contacted.
The UPA meeting came at a time when divergent views on the strategy to be adopted to tackle the Maoists have emerged from within the UPA. The BJP has charged the government with pursuing a soft and inconsistent strategy to deal with the rebels. Last week,NCP chief Sharad Pawar had argued that the challenge posed by Left wing insurgency cannot be tackled by treating it only as a law and order problem. He advanced development should go hand in hand with security operations theory at a time when many of the Congress ministers felt that insurgency should be dealt with an iron hand. For instance,Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had called Maoists terrorists and argued for a step up in operations.
The UPA leadership did not discuss the options available before the government to push through the Food Security Bill.