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Maoists' attempts to boycott polls instill fear; experts predict disruption

Saturday, 29 March 2014 - 4:29pm IST | Agency: ANI

  • Maoist

As the 2014 General elections are nearing, there seems to be an increase in Maoist activities in affected areas. One easily comes across cases of violence caused by these rebel forces in media reports.

Be it blasting a cell phone tower during Narendra Modi's rally in Bihar or injuring security personnel in Jharkhand, Maoists are spreading panic among voters so as to reduce the percentage of voter turnout in as many areas as possible.

Maoist expert Dhirendra Vidyarthi from Lohardaga District in Jharkhand expressed concern over the increasing violence, and said that the state experiences an annual killing of between 200 to 250 people normally. Adding to it, he said that the main problem behind the failure to curb Maoism is poor communication.

"The common people could easily be threatened with even a small violent attack, and they are so panic stricken that the villagers are not even ready to talk about it. Therefore, without any conversation it becomes difficult to understand their problem. One can take any recent incident be it of an abduction, or attack during a political meeting. As the elections are nearing Maoists are also preparing themselves as recently also many landmines and explosives have been recovered from the Maoist affected areas. Now it depends upon the police as to what they are doing to prevent any such attack or what measures is the constitution taking. As just speaking will not help, a serious strategy needs to be planned then only this problem will be solved. But it could definitely be assured that this time also the Maoists will plan out something to disrupt or boycott polls," said Vidyarthi.

Recently in Bihar's Jamui District, rebels belonging to the Communist Party of India (Maoists) tried to threaten villagers by putting up posters and distributing pamphlets, asking them to boycott polls or else face dire consequences.

Reacting to this incident Vidyarthi expressed the need to build up an apt strategy so as to prevent any mishap during the elections, and said that such incidents clearly indicate that Maoists would definitely try to affect the general elections.

"Although right now it's difficult to say that what percentage of elections will be affected, but it will definitely have some effect on them because where there is fear and panic among the local people the question will definitely be raised there. And the Model Code of Conduct which has been imposed by the election commission towards the political parties, media or others that is different. But the main threat is more amongst the villagers and people living in other interior areas than the ones in cities. The villagers often complain that they don't get to see any police official or politician coming to their area to listen to their woes. The politicians take help of their sources to spread their voice in the villages because they are themselves scared of the Maoists. There are many Maoist groups who have successfully established a foothold in their respective areas, therefore, it is true that they will definitely affect the elections in the rural areas," Vidyarthi added.

Although the authorities are taking measures to avoid any sort of trouble during the elections, but nothing could be assured.

"The poll boycott attempts by the Maoists by distributing pamphlets or staging demonstrations is not a new thing they do it in every election but the authorities are ready to face the situation and our strategy would be to make elections successful in the mostly affected areas and we are trying our level best to assure maximum number of voter turnout," said M.S. Bhatiya, IG, Ranchi Domain.

According to expert analysis the ratio of votes in areas like Dumri, Chainpur, Bishanpur and the mountainous regions of Lohardaga have always been very less. Such Maoist affected areas always see only 30 percent of voter turnout. Although now it has risen to 50% in Gumla region but it needs to touch 70 percent and the ones which are mostly affected by the Maoists like Kurumgadh village or villages in Bishanpur have seen just six percent of voter turnout

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