MAINTAINING THAT Maoist menace will be fought with stronger efforts, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Wednesday that “mindless violence” will not be allowed to hold hostage development of the poor and tribals in Gadchiroli, where at least 16 people, including 15 police personnel, were killed in a IED blast triggered by Maoists.
Speaking to media persons in Mumbai, Fadnavis said: “Such cowardly action cannot demoralise our courageous police force. Nor will we allow such mindless violence to hold hostage development of the poor and adivasis… We will double our efforts to reach out to remote hamlets and villages…”
“The design of the Maoists to undermine our democracy through such cowardly acts of violence cannot demoralise our police force… My prayers are with the families of the martrys,” he added. Fadnavis said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured full support to Maharashtra in its fight against Maoists.
The attack evoked a sharp reaction from the Opposition.
Targeting Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and state Congress president Ashok Chavan demanded his resignation as the CM. “The chief minister should own the responsibility for the blast and resign immediately,” Pawar said.
“In Maharashtra, Maoist attacks have become a recurring phenomenon. The state administration appears to have ignored the law and order situation in the region. The violence is an outcome of the failure of the administration,” he said. “Those who feel shame of conscience, if not shame of public opinion, would have resigned. But the people who are in power today are not going to do so,” Pawar added.
Reacting to Pawar, Education Minister Vinod Tawde told media persons: “When 12 serial blasts took place in Mumbai on March 12, 1993, Pawar was then the chief minister of Maharashtra. Did he resign?… Recently,
Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh led to the killing of a BJP MLA. Why was he silent then? Was it because Chhattisgarh has a Congress CM?”
In Delhi, alleging that “fake chest thumping” characterises the BJP-led government’s narrative towards national security, the Congress hit out at the Modi dispensation and said that despite its “tall talk” no lessons from Pulwama have been learnt.
The party alleged that the BJP has sought to “deeply politicise” the blood and sacrifice of the country’s jawans, but have become mute when such cowardly attack takes place. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the country needs preventive action, accountability for this failure and not ‘jumlas’ (rhetoric) and lectures.
Governor C H Vidhyasagar Rao, meanwhile, called off the customary high-tea session and cultural function to mark the foundation day of Maharashtra at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday. In a statement, he described the attack as an act of cowardice. “There cannot be any justification to such act of violence. We salute the brave police persons,” he said.