Let Maoists fight election to prove their popularity: Patil

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Ranchi, Jun 11 (UNI) Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil today said the rise of Maoist activites in the country should not be construed as their growing popularity and dared them fight elections to gauge their image in public.

Mr Patil, who visited the Maoist dominated Chatra and Palamu districts, was talking to reporters on his return at the Raj Bhavan here.

Asked if the Centre was aware of the Maoists trying to spread their tentacles at international level, Mr Patil said the Maoist might think at that level but they must check if they were with the mass people.

"If they (Moaists) want to contest elections, we welcome them but they can not control people imposing terror", the Union Home Minister said.

Mr Patil expressed concern over rise in terrorism and insurgency as well but urged the people not to single out a particular incident meaning that there was complete break down in law and order situation.

"I am personally visiting states like Chattisgarh and Jharkhand to assess the ground relaities whether the centrally devised schemes meant for counter-insurgency operation are being properly implemented", he said adding it was enourging to see that morale of the forces was very high.

He, however, underlined the urgent need to upgrade and modernise the police force.

On the Centre's other initiatives to address the issue, Mr Patil said in democracy everything was possible to attain through dialogue indicating that door was open for who made serious bid to return to the mainstream. The underground elements must realise that they could not achieve goals through killings and destruction.

He also brought home the point that the insurgent or terror groups were disintegrating leading to inter-gang rivalry.

On a specific question involving his son who was accused of promoting his business using the father's name, Mr Patil said, ''if I do not say you (media) will criticise me...I say something I do not know how you will present it. But I deny the allegation and my son and whoever involved will express their stand at appropriate forum''.

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