Why Lalu opposes ban on CPI(Maoist)

Written by Press Trust of India | Patna | Updated: Jun 28 2009, 04:27am hrs
RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadavs statement opposing the ban on the CPI(Maoist) by the Centre is notable for several reasons. Prasad is a former chief minister of a Naxal-affected state. He is also a former Union minister who could not be accommodated in the present UPA cabinet.

A day after the Centre declared the CPI (Maoist) a terrorist organisation, the RJD chief said the decision to ban the Maoists was not a solution and called for an all-party meeting to discuss measures to address the problem. Banning the Maoists is neither a solution nor the treatment. Naxalism cannot be resolved with application of force, he said.

His statement is being decoded in political circles as a veiled attack on the UPA government. Though the RJD has extended its four MPs support to the present government, Lalu is not sure whether he is in the UPA or out of it.

Political analysts also say that Prasads statement frames his restiveness in the face of loss of power at the Centre and in Bihar. What kind of comprehensive solution is he talking about asks Patna-based commentator Srikanth. He had enough time to address the socio-economic dimensions of Naxalism. He is talking about getting at the root of the Naxal problem now when he is on the other side of the fence.

An estimated 350 people were killed in Naxal violence during the RJDs 15-year rule. The Bara and Laxamanpur Bathe massacres alone killed over 70 people. The CPI(Maoist), then the MCC, was directly involved in the brutal killings. Nineteen districts in Bihar are Naxal-affected. Gaya, Aurangabad, Nawada and Jehanabad are the worst hit.

Ultras faced a ban in Bihar during the Congress and RJD governments. It was only in the 1977 Janata Party government that the ban on the Maoists was lifted. The ban was again imposed in the Bindeshwari Dubey government in the early 1980s and has continued ever since. A senior JD(U) leader alleges that Prasad has always been soft on Maoists and that they enjoyed enormous clout in some sections of the RJD leadership. Yet, he says, the sympathy did not translate into any meaningful effort to address the social and economic roots of the problem.

Senior RJD leader and Buxar MP Jagdanand Singh said: Our political opponents and the media are taking a myopic view of Lalujis statement. What our leader meant is that Naxalism could be treated by getting to the root cause of the problem. He said the RJD always held that a ban could not be the solution.