No wave in Bastar, parties showcase Maoist wounds
Being in a different political zone, there’s no perceptible wave in this Lok Sabha constituency, which is going to polls on April 10. So, the three major parties, the BJP, the Congress and the AAP, seem to have nothing to cash in on.india Updated: Apr 07, 2014 00:39 IST
Being in a different political zone, there’s no perceptible wave in this Lok Sabha constituency, which is going to polls on April 10. So, the three major parties, the BJP, the Congress and the AAP, seem to have nothing to cash in on.
So, keeping the usual flow of accusations and promises running, the contestants are banking on the “sympathy” factor – who suffered how much at the hands of Maoists. For, political analyst Shashank Sharma said, “Sops and sympathy work equally well among the tribals.”
Since no one has any suggestion on how to resolve the three-decade-long cycle of violence, they are banking on the “adversity endured”. Plus, the Congress and AAP have an extra advantage – they can talk about the “partisan” attitude of the BJP government.
Interestingly, only AAP is attracting better responses in Bastar than anywhere else in the state. Suspected ‘Maoist sympathiser’ and AAP candidate Soni Sori fears that for her, the threat is more from the state establishment than the Maoists.
Sori, a tribal teacher, was arrested by the police in 2011 for allegedly helping transfer funds from the Essar group to the rebels. “I was falsely implicated and tortured by the police. The people’s empathy will be with me”, she told HT.
In February this year, the Supreme Court granted her a permanent bail. But in 2012, her mother died and in 2013, she lost her husband. What’s more, her father sustained bullet injuries in a Maoist attack. The Congress has fielded Deepak, president of Dantewada Nagar Panchayat and son of slain tribal leader Mahendra Karma who was killed in the Maoist attack on a Congress convoy in May 2013.
The Congress started using the ambush as a poll issue in the last assembly polls, when Devti, Deepak’ mother, won the Dantewada assembly seat apparently on the sympathy factor, blaming the state government for security lapses.
The ruling BJP, too, claims that it had a lot of men in Maoist attacks. Sitting BJP MP Dinesh Kashyap said, “We are fighting hostility across large parts of Bastar and it continues to affect our families.”
Kashyap, too, won the Bastar by-poll primarily by exploiting the death of his father Baliram Kashyap, a four-time Bastar MP, in 2011. He himself has a miraculous escape when his elder brother, Tansen, got killed by the Maoists in September 2009.