Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Friday advised Maoists to shun violence, join the mainstream and contest elections, if they seek to implement their ideology.
Noting that he had visited different places in Chhattisgarh and interacted with tribals, he said there was a need to bring them into mainstream by encouraging them, giving employment to them and promoting skill development.
“The governments have been making efforts in this regard, but due to extremism, people in those areas are suffering. They have only suffered and not benefited,” he said at an event marking the diamond jubilee year celebrations of state-run miner National Mineral Development Corporation here.
“Maoist violence has not helped the people. Hospitals and schools were destroyed. Teachers were afraid to go to schools,” Naidu said.
“I would like to tell them (Maoists) that if you want to implement your ideology, then try to join the people. Come to the mainstream and contest elections and if possible win and then try to implement your ideology.
“What is this way of killing people. Whom you are killing, they will hit back at you with a double barrel”, the vice president said.
“Several people have lost their lives. Precious lives have been lost…both their cadre and public and the policemen also. The people of Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand…they have the experience (of Maoist violence),” he said.
Advising the Maoists to join the mainstream, he said, “Drop the weapons and move towards the ballot. The ballot is more powerful than a bullet. You understand this that power will never come from a bullet. Please don’t block the progress and growth of those areas. This is my appeal to all those who are taking up armed struggle,” Naidu said.
The vice president also said that transformation is now taking place in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, in spite of the threat of Maoists and loss of so many precious lives due to violence.
“The way the chief minister (Raman Singh) is working there and the way the transformation has come in Chattisgarh is a matter to be seen by all. I want to see that the tribals also need to be brought into the mainstream,” Naidu added.