With the Communist Party of India (Maoist) preparing to strike officials and state symbols during the impending Chhattisgarh polls in a big way, there are growing fears that the Chhattisgarh polls may indeed be a violent one.
“Maoists are preparing to go on an unprecedented scale for enforcing a violent boycott. Top leaders like Ganapathy and Katakan Anand have been openly sighted in Narayanpur (Abhujmadh) area and Bijapur,” said a senior security official engaged in combating Maoists.
Ganapathy alias Muppalla Laxman Rao is the general secretary of CPI (Maoists) while Katakam Sudarshan alias Anand is the secretary of the Central Regional Bureau.
“Not only top leaders, but senior and middle-level leaders are leading teams of cadres and are openly campaigning in villages trying to convince people to boycott the polls,” the official added.
The Centre, while taking steps to counter any Maoist strike during the polls, already sounds worried. The home ministry has taken a dim view of the inability of the CRPF and the BSF to neutralise or arrest any important Maoist leader over the last three months.
This does not augur well for the election build-up since the naxals have been allowed freedom of space to operate with impunity, government sources told HT, pointing that “accountability would be fixed for lapses arising out of poor planning and execution”.
Reports also said that the Maoists have set up small action teams of about five cadres, who carry small arms, including machetes, with some even dressed in school uniforms.
Prospects of violence are particularly strong in the first phase of the polls on November 11 when the worst-affected Bastar — the core Maoist area — also goes to polls.
The situation is considered more serious as Maoists from the neighbouring states of Odisha, Jharkhand and Maharashtra are also infiltrating into the state in small groups with plans to disrupt the polls.
Maoists had given a poll-boycott clarion call on October 15.