Red shadow over panchayat polls

BALANGIR: Shadow of Red terror looms large over the three-tier panchayat elections with Maoist posters and banners creating panic in Khaprakhol block on Wednesday morning, a day ahead of closing of nominations. They were earlier found in Turekela block of the district.

The Maoists have made their intentions to disrupt polls clear by threatening people with dire consequences if they go against their diktats.

In the posters written in Hindi and issued by CPI (Maoist) Mainpur division, the aspirants for the post of Sarpanch, Samiti member and Zilla Parishad member of Karuanjhar, Pankapani, Rengali, Telenpali, Ghunsar, Maharapadar, Nandupala, Bhanpur, Lathore and Bander gram panchayats have been asked to seek prior permission from the banned outfit.

In a veiled threat, the poster said those ignoring the warning should not hold the outfit responsible.

While the warning has spread panic in the region, an aspiring Samiti member said those engaged in corrupt practices, particularly the Government officials, need to fear.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, Maoist posters issued by Balangir-Nuapada Division were found in Turekela, Bahabandh, Baddakla, Badabanki and Gunesh gram panchayats, declaring death sentence for Turekela block Chairman Raidhar Benia and four others.

The posters in Hindi asked corrupt leaders to stay away from the polls and aspirants against filing nomination papers on Tuesday. A banner was also found hanging on the main gate of Gunesh gram panchayat office which asked people to boycott polls and stay away from contesting the elections.

It is learnt that the CPI (Maoist) will field candidates for the posts of Sarpanch, Samiti and Zilla Parishad member to ensure that they retain their sway over Khaprakhol block.

The Maoists believed to have zeroed in on two candidates for the block chairman post. Patnagarh SDPO Laxmi Narayan Panda said posters had been seized from Karuanjhar, Lathore and Bander and cases registered. He dismissed Maoist threat to the panchayat polls.

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