JOGI PLANNING PRO-MAOISTS' MEET IN DELHI
From Our Delhi Bureau
NEW DELHI: Ignoring the Home Ministry's threat only two days ago to book anyone supporting the Maoists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act with jail for 10 years, former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi is trying to bring the activists backing the CPI(Maoist) movement on one forum by organising a conference in Delhi.
Taking further Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh's campaign that police action can never solve the Maoist issue, Jogi wants the leaders of the tribal areas and the pro-Maoist intellectuals and NGOs to attend the conference to prepare a charter of demands of the tribals that the government should meet and involve the Maoists activist in the tribal areas in meeting these demands.
Jogi, who is a senior Congress leader and himself a tribal, has recently shifted his base from Raipur to Delhi and wants to gain relevance in the capital by organising the conference. He was once the Congress face in Delhi as the party's spokesman but lost prominence after losing the Chhattisgarh government to the BJP and his activities too became limited because of an accident that made him confined to a wheelchair for life time.
He is trying to rope in Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in the exercise he is contemplating to involve the Maoists in development instead of hounding them out from the tribal areas. He has written to Gandhi to inaugurate the conference, pointing out that the Maoists do resort to violence but they are also doing good work in remote areas that the government failed to perform.
A clever guy, Jogi has not fixed any date as yet for the conference pending Rahul Gandhi's consent to inaugurate it as he thinks such a consent itself will give a legitimacy to his effort in the Congress and not bring him in any clash with Home Minister P Chidambaram alike Digvijay Singh who too wanted rapid development in the tribal areas instead of bloodshed in the police action. Pending Gandhi's consent, he is keeping his plans of holding the conference under wraps as sources close to him say he may even drop it if he gets a negative response.