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Maoist attack: No poll mania in Bastar and Kanker

india Updated: Apr 12, 2009 00:35 IST
Ejaz Kaiser
Ejaz Kaiser
Hindustan Times

A day after the Maoists killed 10 CRPF personnel in the state, Bastar and Kanker in south Chhattisgarh seem de-linked from poll process.

Petrified politicians and people here prefer to abstain from any visible celebration of democracy like elsewhere in the country going to polls in the first phase on Thursday.

No banners, posters, party workers or their loud or not so loud slogans. In villages across these two restive Lok Sabha constituencies of Bastar and Kanker, the near-total absence of election paraphernalia loudly shouts out the naxal declaration: poll boycott.

No political party or candidate here dares to appeal to the voters to defy the boycott call. On the other hand, last Tuesday, the naxal outfits managed to take out a huge 3-km long rally and held a public meeting to drive home their boycott message in Dantewada district.

Electioneering is restricted to urban pockets of Jagdalpur, Kanker and Dantewada.

The Friday’s attack has left the police in a tizzy. A high-level meeting was held to review security arrangements in the state in general and in south Chhattisgarh in particular.

“Besides our assessing the ground preparation to conduct peaceful poll and restore confidence among the voters, our intelligence network has been put on high alert. And we are examining what led to Friday attack, but surely it was not the intelligence failure. Such attacks are always feared particularly when polls are near,” said an intelligence official.

State DGP Anil M Navani, however, said the state was capable to hold peaceful elections.

The state police has demanded 500 companies of paramilitary forces and 10 helicopters during the polls. So far, the state has got 90 additional companies.

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