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Soren on rebels: Talks only solution

Ranchi, Dec. 29: Shibu Soren, scheduled to be sworn in Jharkhand chief minister tomorrow, has said talks are the “only solution” to Naxalism.

“Naxalism is a big issue and, in my opinion, talks are the only solution to this socio-economic problem. I am in favour of initiating a dialogue with the rebels to try and find out what they want,” Soren told The Telegraph this morning at his Morabadi residence.

Soren’s statement came against the backdrop of suggestions that Maoist support was one of the reasons for the better-than-expected performance of his candidates in the elections. The JMM had fielded as many as six former Naxalites, of whom one, Paulus Surin, won from Torpa.

If the security vigil against the Maoists flags because of the change of guard in Jharkhand, it will have an impact in Bengal, too, whose government has been pushing the Centre to launch an offen- sive in the neighbouring state.

Soren said his government would hold talks with the rebels within six months. “I know of several channels through which talks can be initiated with the rebels,” he said.

The chief minister-designate felt that half the state’s problems would be solved if water was provided to every farmland round the year.

“I will ensure completion of all irrigation projects. In the past, not water but money got minted from irrigation projects,” he said.

The Union cabinet today recommended revocation of President’s rule in Jharkhand to facilitate the formation of a new government tomorrow.

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