Floods unleash untold miseries, but for the Maoists it has come as an opportunity to cash in on people's plight and expand their base in Sitamarhi, Sheohar and parts of East and West Champaran districts.
An intelligence report says poverty in the flood-affected areas and discrepancies in the relief distribution have given the Maoists a chance to win over the people. They sympathise with the flood-hit and often raise their matters at secret meetings. They also exploit the situation to incite the rural masses against the government machinery, the report says.
In the first week of August, hundreds of hardcore CPI (Maoist) activists, including 50 women, took out a torch light procession, which passed through their newly expanded areas along the Bagmati embankment. The Maoists marched through Dumri, Hasaur, Chapra and Balua villages in Sheohar and Sitamarhi districts bordering East Champaran.
The three districts face flood fury almost every year and relief materials remain scarce for a number of the victims. Taking advantage of the situation, the Maoists have expanded their base to some new villages like Hasaur, Chandauli, Balua, Mohali, Chapra and Kundal along the Bagmati embankment, the report adds.
It is not that the Maoists have succeeded in their design everywhere.
Their mission, the report says, failed in villages of Runnisaidpur block in Sitamarhi district as the flood remained confined to Tilaktajpur area only.
In 2007, the Maoists had increased their area of influence in, what they call, the western zone by taking advantage of discrepancies in the distribution of relief among the victims, the report says, adding the figures of beneficiaries compiled by the government agencies hardly matched with the real victims.