The banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) stands by its call to boycott the polls in West Bengal, but has said that it will not stop people who want to exercise their franchise during the fifth and sixth phases of the assembly elections, to be held on May 7 and 10, respectively.
In a statement faxed to HT on Friday, Koteswar Rao, alias Kishenji, resurfacing after a hiatus of three months, declared that the decision was taken after considering the “special circumstances of West Bengal”.
“It is one’s personal conviction to vote for anyone or to boycott the polls. Everybody has to respect this understanding. We don’t believe in achieving peoples’ power through polling and have called for a boycott of the polls,” Kishenji said.
“But we won’t obstruct anyone who goes out to cast their vote and will respect their choice instead,” he added.
The entire Jangalmahal area, consisting of 12 assembly constituencies, goes to the polls on May 10. Maoists have a significant presence there.
However, Kishenji called on the people to drive out “the fascist CPI(M) and fascist Congress”. Earlier, the Maoists had said they would counter other political parties, including the Trinamool, politically, while they would counter the Congress and the CPI(M) both “politically and militarily”.