The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday slammed Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for his absence from the country in the aftermath of the Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh.
Party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, "At a time when so much of commotion is happening, the gentleman there (Shinde) is on a private trip for past four days when rest of the people from the official trip have come back."
She rejected explanations that the home minister was keeping an eye on the situation from abroad. "You can sit on the moon and say we are monitoring everything but that is not what is expected of a person who needs to be on the ground and be in control of the situation," she said, describing the attack as a "national calamity".
Lekhi said with the situation changing on the ground every minute, the Congress needs to be "more correct" as to how the situation needs to be handled. She said sending the National Investigative Agency to probe the attack "sounds more superfluous" when the home minister had a word with the state chief minister Raman Singh who had updated him about the commission of enquiry set up by the state government to probe the incident. She also appeared to suggest that the government was handing the issue lightly, noting that "the kind of support which one requires from the central government probably needs to be re-looked at".
The Maoist attack on May 25 killed 27 people, including former Chhattisgarh home minister Mahendra Karma, state Pradesh
Congress Committee Chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh.
Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi visited the state after the incident, Lekhi said
their visit served little purpose. To a poser, she said, "Sonia Gandhi happens to be the UPA chairperson and not an official person who has any knowledge or wherewithal to pass on any kind of advice or judgment about how the Naxal issue has to be handled...which is prerogative of the home minister." Besides, there are multiple voices coming from Congress quarters, she said.