Home minister P Chidamabram and Maoist leader Kishanji exchanged numbers on Tuesday even as they refused to talk to each other.
A day after Kishanji proposed a ‘conditional’ ceasefire, Chidambaram rejected the offer, saying the government would not accept any “ifs and buts” for talks. Instead, he asked the CPI (Maoist) to come out with a statement pledging to “abjure violence”.
“I would like no ifs, no buts and no conditions,” Chidambaram said as he emphasized that for talks to start, Maoists ought to promise to abjure violence. He said if the ultras were ready, they could fax their truce offer directly to him, on 011-23093155.
Kishanji went a step further. Responding to the invitation, he said, ”If he (Chidambaram) wants to talk on our ceasefire proposal, let him speak to me on my phone number 09734695789. He is welcome to call me on February 25 but after 5pm.” He did not spell out if he was ready to meet Chidambaram’s demand to cease violence.
Rather, he explained, cheekily so, that he wanted Chidambaram to call him on February 25 because “on that day we will observe martyrs’ day to mourn our slain comrades”.