Maoists take the ballot route in Sundargarh

ROURKELA: Presently power seems to flow from ballot box and not from barrel of the gun for the Maoists. This is being seen as a ploy to regain control over strategic locations.

If intelligence reports are to be believed, the outfit is eyeing Rehaltu, Swayambha, Jamdihi, Bimlagarh and Chordhara gram panchayats in Koida block under the K Balang police limits and at least eight interior gram panchayats under the Maoist-hit Bisra and Bondamunda police limits.

They have even approached some local leaders, including the outgoing Zilla Parishad member of Koida (A), Anandmasi Horo and trade union leader Jiban Munda, claimed intelligence sources.

Ahead of the nomination, the duo was reportedly summoned to the Saranda forest. In 2009, Horo was kidnapped by the Maoists and released three days later.

Significantly, Horo is contesting as samiti member from Relhatu gram panchayat. He is vying for the chairman post of Koida block.

The scenario is hazy as each of the four gram panchayats have two to seven nominees for the posts of Sarpanch and Samiti member, while Asbanti Bodra is certain to be elected unopposed from the Relhatu gram panchayat. Koida block alone received no nominations for 74 posts of ward member.

Police suspect that dummy candidates have been put up in the remaining five gram panchayats to ensure victory of the Maoist-backed nominees.

Collector Rupa Roshan Sahu said so far 1,760 polling booths have been identified as sensitive, adding the administration is committed to ensure free and fair polls.

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