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Naxals ?ban? TDP and BJP, threaten leaders

Having often used law-and-order argument to renew ban on People War Group and increase police repression, party chief Chandrababu Naidu is finding himself at the receiving end.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2004 11:43 IST
Ashok Das

Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is getting a taste of its own medicine. Having often used the law-and-order argument to renew the ban on the People War Group (PWG) and increase police repression, party chief Chandrababu Naidu is finding himself at the receiving end. The PWG has imposed a “ban” on TDP-BJP candidates.

The ban effectively means that anyone dealing with these two parties will be targetted by the Naxalites. The PWG has also directed functionaries of elected local bodies to resign from their posts and quit the TDP and BJP.

The PWG has boycotted elections in the past, but this time it seems to mean business. In the past three months, the ultra leftists have killed 22 people, including some important TDP functionaries, who have ignored their warnings.

The fear of PWG reprisals have led to an exodus of leaders and cadres from the TDP and BJP. Over 8,000 party workers and sympathisers have quit in the past three months.

The police have intensified the offensive against the PWG and provided security to many leaders, but that has done little to remove the fear psychosis. “Increasing security cover may help when we are at home but when moving among the people, it won’t help. Anyone can come and shoot me at close range,” says a three-term TDP MLA.

The PWG says more than 1,400 people, including innocent civilians, have been killed in false encounters during Naidu’s regime. And they are better placed to strike back — they have a presence in 16 districts now, compared to the two districts where they had a presence before Naidu came to power.

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PWG has killed 22 in past 3 months. On Oct 1, 2003, CM Chandrababu Naidu escaped bid on life

First Published: Mar 16, 2004 11:43 IST