New Delhi: Calling Home Minister P Chidambaram as "intellectually arrogant", senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh has openly differed with his anti-Naxal strategy, prompting disapproval from AICC for airing views in public.
"He is extremely intelligent, articulate, committed and a sincere politician - but extremely rigid once he makes up his mind. I have been a victim of his intellectual arrogance many times but we still are good friends," Singh, a former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, said.
In an article in a newspaper, Singh, during whose tenure as Chief Minister Maoist-affected Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh, suggested treating the Naxalite issue as a law and order problem was wrong and called for a rethink of counter-Maoist strategy.
"In this case (regarding Maoists), I have differed with his (Chidambaram's) strategy that does not take into consideration the people living in the affected area who ultimately matter. He is treating it purely as a law and order problem without taking into consideration the issues that affect the tribals," Singh said.
"When I raised these issues with him (Chidambaram), he said it was not his responsibility," said the AICC General Secretary noting that he has known Chidambaram since 1985 when both were elected to Parliament.
At the same time, Singh said "the buck stops with the chief minister for law and order and not with the Union Home Minister.
Singh's remarks are significant as they came close on the heels of the Dantewada massacre of 76 securitymen by Maoists.
However, Congress sought to disapprove of Singh publicly expressing his differences with Chidambaram on the issue of tackling Naxalites saying such views should be expressed only in party forums.
"Congress is a democratic party. Every one has a right to express his or her views but such views should be expressed within the party forums only," AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi said.