New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rejected home minister P. Chidambaram’s offer to resign over the attack by Maoist insurgents on 6 April that killed 76 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh.
Chidambaram had taken full responsibility for the attack in a letter to Singh, a move that could blunt the criticism against the government’s failure to curb Maoist attacks.
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) confirmed that the home minister had written to Singh. “The home minister gave it in writing the day before yesterday,” a spokesperson said on Friday. “The Prime Minister rejected it.”
There has been intense criticism in the ruling Congress party against Chidambaram’s handling of the issue, a senior lawmaker said.
Naxalite fallout: In a letter to the Prime Minister, home minister Chidambaram has taken full responsibility for the Maoist attack. PTI
Another Congress leader said Chidambaram, who took over as home minister in the wake of the November 2009 Mumbai terror attacks, has also written to party chief Sonia Gandhi.
On Friday, addressing a CRPF Valour Day function in the national capital, Chidambaram said: “I have been asked directly or indirectly where the buck stops for what happened in Dantewada. I have no hesitation (in) saying the buck stops at my desk...I accept full responsibility for what happened in Dantewada. Immediately on my return from Chhattisgarh, I called on the Prime Minister and gave it in writing that I accept full responsibility for what happened.”
Appreciating Chidambaram’s gesture of taking moral responsibility for the incident, Congress party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said it was “commendable”. He said the Congress believes in a two-pronged strategy in countering the Maoists—the Central government should assist the state in going after anti-national elements while restoring the civil administration and undertaking developmental activities in the region simultaneously.
The main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, did not support Chidambaram’s stand. “It will be taken as a victory of the Maoists,” said Rajiv Pratap Rudy, a party spokesperson.
(‘PTI’ and Santosh K. Joy contributed to this story.)