Maoists on Monday asked people to boycot Jharkhand's first panchayat elections scheduled to begin in the state November 27.
"The polls are being conducted when the state is suffering from drought and a famine-like situation," the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) said, urging people to stay away from the elections.
"Millions of rupees have been spent to deploy (security) forces in rural areas in the name of the elections instead of expediting relief work," the party said.
"The panchayat polls will help only those who are in power and people should protect their interest by boycotting them," said the statement made available to a section of the media.
The elections will be held in five phases -- Nov 27, Dec 6, Dec 13, Dec 20 and Dec 24.
The Supreme Court in January directed the state Election Commission to hold the panchayat elections.
The Jharkhand government is determined to hold the elections and has sought 250 companies of central forces.
In the absence of elections, Jharkhand loses Rs.300-400 crore of central development funds every year that are directly routed to panchayats.