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Ahead of the first phase assembly polls in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-affected Bastar and Rajnandgaon regions on November 11, as security forces get cracking to ensure free and peaceful elections, the CPI (Maoist) too has intensified its campaign with their poll-boycott clarion call.
In Dantewada, the Maoists have ordered the tribals to vacate their villages two days before the poll, put up banners against participating in the elections and taken to distributing pamphlets against the elections in general and the BJP and the Congress in particular.
Holding peaceful polls in Chhattisgarh’s red zone Bastar will be the biggest challenge for the Election Commission (EC), especially because no less than two dozen assembly constituencies in Chhattisgarh happen to be Maoist strongholds. There are 3,249 hypersensitive polling booths in the state and most of them are in Bastar.
Compared to 2008, the CPI (Maoist) has grown not just in size but in strength as well, revealed a senior intelligence officer in the state police headquarters (PHQ). The rebels are now present in more areas —18 of the 27 districts.
Not surprisingly, for the first time, a three-day mandatory induction training programme is being carried out for the forces in the Maoist-affected districts ahead of the polls.
“The cases studies on the successes and failures of the forces against the Maoists are shared with the personnel. Various modes of operation of the rebels, dos and don’ts, the security on the roads and camps and how the guerrillas use their strategies are part of the training,” said RK Vij, ADG.