State and central intelligence agencies have warned of attempts by Maoist militants to target political leaders in election-bound Jharkhand, putting forces on high alert and advisories being sent out to parties.
The warning comes at a time candidates are expected to increase their campaigning, which would involve extensive travelling for many through potentially vulnerable and remote regions of the state.
Last year, a cell of the left-wing extremists struck a convoy of Congress leaders in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, wiping out a clutch of the party's state leadership with 27 casualties. A similar campaign is being planned by CPI (Maoists) and Tritya Prastuti Committee (TPC) - a splinter Maoist outfit, officials have said.
Both national parties - the Congress and the BJP - are on their hit list and top police officials have been given a list of names who are particularly at risk. "Adequate steps are being taken to thwart Maoists' nefarious designs," said Jharkhand Police director general Rajeev Kumar.
"We have asked the contestants to provide their detail travelling plans and election meting venue a day prior so that proper security arrangements can be made," Ranchi zone inspector-general MS Bhatia said.
State police's special branch believes rebels may have orchestrated a seemingly deliberate accident that left BJP's Latehar seat contender with grievous injuries and two of his guards dead. The BJP has pointed the finger at a TPC leader who had initially sought to fight for the constituency on the saffron party's ticket.
At least 22 out of 24 districts in Jharkhand are affected by left-wing extremism and eight districts out of 22 districts in the country have been identified as highly vulnerable.During 2009 elections Maoists have attempted an attack on Sonia Gandhi's election rally at Khunti which was thwarted by CRPF troopers.