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Cong for steps to curb Maoist violence

By Kalyan Barooah

NEW DELHI, Nov 2 � The Congress Party today said that armed struggle against the State by any section of the society cannot be tolerated and the government should take all appropriate steps to curb it.

The Congress Party called upon the government to undertake time-bound implementation of the integrated action plan for the tribal and backward areas.

The Congress Party�s resolution was referring to Left-wing extremism (LWE)-affected States and not the insurgency hit north-eastern States. The two-page statement in fact made no mention about the region, neither did the addresses of Congress president, Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, perhaps in an indication of waning insurgency in the region.

The only reference in the resolution was to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and LWE-affected States. Maoists and Naxalite activities in a number of districts of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra have caused serious law-and-order situation leading to senseless violence, killing of civilians, security forces besides wanton destruction of public properties.

The Party opined that lack of development leading to growing alienation of a section of the society, particularly in the tribal and other LWE-hit-areas has to be addressed.

The day-long AICC session held at the Talkatora Stadium and attended by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, besides senior leaders of the Party, unanimously elected Sonia Gandhi as the president for the fourth consecutive time. She was authorised to nominate the entire Congress Working Committee (CWC).

Assam Congress was represented by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita along with 42 elected AICC members of the State including MPs, ex-MPs, ministers and MLAs.

The Party, however, skirted several of the contentious issues including the Adarsh housing scam of Mumbai, the corruption in the recent Commonwealth Games, besides problems confronting several of the Congress-ruled States. The Party though expresse its concern at the growing inflation.

However, what the Congress president said about environment may have relevance for Assam and the north-eastern States in the face of the heat over the mega dam issue. Gandhi set the tone by stressing the need to protect the environment. �Whenever the environment is damaged, a bit of India dies,� she said, quoting late Rajiv Gandhi.

�Today, the issue of environment has become a question of survival. Taking inspiration from Indira Gandhi, we have to protect our biodiversity,� she said.

Referring to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Gandhi in her address observed that a �new situation� has emerged in the State, describing the recent unrest in the State as �painful� and appealed to all �dissatisfied� sections to give peace a chance so that their future could be built.

She said the government was keen on a �meaningful political dialogue� with all political parties and regions of the State for which the interlocutors have been appointed.

During her inaugural speech at the AICC meet Gandhi talked about a range of issues like Naxalism, price rise, Ayodhya judgement, Mumbai terror attack, etc.

Gandhi said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre has increased to unprecedented levels the funds being made available to all States irrespective of the party in power for development and social programmes.

�It is unfortunate and ironic that many State governments claim credit for programmes and schemes that are formulated and funded by the Central Government,� said Gandhi.

Addressing the session, the Prime Minister said that the UPA Government will always try to ensure that economic development reaches the poorer and weaker sections of society.

�Our party has always worked for the weakest and poorest sections of society. We want an economic development, which is equitable. The UPA Government had in the last six and a half years always looked after the welfare of the �aam aadmi,� he added.

He further added that the party�s policy on economic development is meant for all sections.

The session was also addressed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and other senior leaders.

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