Political parties express concern over Maoist violence

New Delhi, April 16 (Inditop) The Maoist violence during the first phase of the elections Thursday evoked strong reactions from major political parties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blaming the Congress-led government for it and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) saying the problem was being treated narrowly as a law and order issue.

The states that were targetted by Maoists were Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Orissa, amongst the 17 states and union territories conducting elections in the first phase, where the rebels tried to implement their poll boycott in a hail of bullets and blasts. As many as 11 incidents of violence were reported killing 17 people.

BJP spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said: “The Naxal problem in the country has spread in the last five years to areas which were earlier beyond the reach of the Naxal movement. The spread has been phenomenal.”

He told IANS: “This issue has been raised by the BJP both inside and outside parliament. However, be it internal security or external security, the response of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has been mere rhetoric.”

CPI-M central secretariat member and Deputy Leader of Rajya Sabha A. Vijayaraghavan said: “The Congress and BJP governments have not seen the issue beyond a law and order problem. Lack of development is the main reason behind the Naxalite attacks.”

Vijayaraghavan told IANS: “It (Maoist violence) happens mostly in backward areas … there is no social security network. A comprehensive programme is needed to tackle the menace. Political will is needed to end social injustice in these areas.”

The Congress reacted with caution. “The Maoist violence is a grave challenge before the country. The prime minister has repeatedly said that Naxalism and its brand of terror is a serious challenge,” Congress spokesperson Ashwini Kumar said.

He said the “need of the hour is a strong government like that of the Congress at the centre that can