With the Pune police claiming they had recovered an email that referred to Maoist plans for the assassination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in “another Rajiv Gandhi type incident”, the BJP mounted a frontal attack Friday on its rivals for not only being “sympathetic” to the Maoist cause but also “desperate, frustrated and neglected… trying to destabilise the nation through violence”. BJP leaders also underlined the threat from the “urban Maoists”.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in an article headlined Increased Maoist Activities that was posted on the BJP website, said: “The past few days have witnessed evidence of increased Maoist activities in areas other than usual extremism affected areas. This is a dangerous tendency which all political parties must realise and react to. The Maoist believe in the violent overthrow of Constitutional system and not just the Government. In their perceived system, there are no fundamental rights, no rule of law, no Parliament and no free speech. But to expand their political base, their sympathisers make full use of the democratic idioms.”
“Whilst in the Opposition during the UPA II, I had analysed in Rajya Sabha that there are four kinds of Maoist in India. Firstly, those who ideologically indoctrinate. The second category is the weaponised Maoist who carry out the operations. The third category is innocent tribals or others who face injustice, who have been misled to believe that Maoist will get them relief. We seriously need to address this section. The fourth category is what I have always called “half Maoist”. Willingly or otherwise, they become over-ground face of the underground. They are a part of the democratic system. They masquerade as activist; they speak the language of democracy; they have captured the human rights movement in several parts of the country but always lend support to the Maoist cause. They are unwilling to condemn,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately, some political parties see the Maoist as their instrument in the anti-NDA cause. The history of terrorism and extremism teaches us one basic fact. Never ride a tiger, you may be its first victim,” Jaitley wrote.
According to a PTI report from Chennai, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, to a question on BJP’s charge that Congress was backing Maoist elements, said the “party, very definitely, even at the level of their president, never hesitated to associate itself with those fringe groups of the Communists, Marxists and Leninists.” She alleged that Rahul Gandhi, as then vice-president of the party, had met some students of JNU in Delhi, whom she accused of being “notorious for their Bharat tere tukde tukde”.
BJP national spokesperson Anil Baluni said, “The country is achieving all-round development in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In this situation, elements which are desperate, frustrated and neglected, they are trying to destabilise the nation through violence. These elements are trying to become dominant using their character of violence. But 125 crore citizens who want development, they deny such ideology.” He said forces which believe in violence are a threat to democracy.
Also Friday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too said his office had received two letters, allegedly from Maoists, threatening him and his family. He said the Maoists were spreading in urban areas and trying to mislead people.
Security cover for the Chief Minister was stepped up after Mumbai police were informed by the state Home Department about the two letters. One of the letters stated that the RSS too was on the Maoist radar.
According to officials in the Home department, the Chief Minister’s Office received two letters — one on May 13 and another on May 18. Officials said the first letter was from the CPI (Maoist) Central Committee and the other from the CPI (Maoist) Dandakaranya special zonal committee. Both letters have been handed over to the State Intelligence Department (SID).
“Police conducted raids against urban Naxals across the country and have unearthed lot of documents and information which point to a conspiracy against Modi. It shows that there is an attempt to create unrest in the country,” Fadnavis said.
On the other hand, some in the Congress, especially those who make the Opposition in Maharashtra, questioned the claim of a Maoist conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister, calling it a possible attempt to divert attention or gain sympathy.
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said Modi spreads such information to “gain sympathy”. “It needs to be investigated whether this info is correct or not and this is also true that Mr Modi is habitual of spreading such false info to gain sympathy particularly when his popularity declines,” Nirupam said on Twitter.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that claims of existence of such a conspiracy appeared to be an attempt to divert attention from the main issues related to the Koregaon Bhima violence in Pune district earlier this year.
In New Delhi, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said “BJP’s duplicity and doublespeak exposed again in Bhima-Koregaon”, citing the remarks of Union Minister Ramdas Athawale, who termed the arrests of Dalit activists in connection with the incident as an “injustice” and said there was “no relation of Elgaar Parishad with violence”.
“Union Minister Ramdas Athawale calls arrests of Dalit activists as ‘injustice’ and says ‘no relation of Elgaar Parishad with violence’. Maharashtra government describes them as ‘Maoist operatives’. Who is lying?” Surjewala asked. “A fair investigation, bereft of politics, is the need of the hour,” he said.
He said terrorism, Naxalism and extremism were unacceptable as no one knew it better then the Congress, which sacrificed Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, besides Beant Singh, V C Shukla and Nand Kumar Patel among others.
Athawale, meanwhile, issued a statement condemning those behind the conspiracy to “assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a manner similar to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination”. The statement, issued from Mumbai Friday, praised Modi for upholding the Constitutional principles of Babasaheb Ambedkar — a day earlier, Athawale had spoken out against the arrest of the three Dalit rights activists, stating that Ambedkarites should not be labelled as Naxalites.
“Incriminating evidence of them being Naxalites have been found. Lawful action should be taken against such people. Ambedkarites can never be Naxalites and Naxalites can never be Ambedkarites. I will speak to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on behalf of true Ambedkarites,” he said.