Maoists stay away from polls, help grand alliance
PATNA:The Mahagathbandhan fared well in the Maoist belt as the Red extremists did not impose their call for poll boycott in seats where anti-NDA forces were dominant. The rebels understood that the grand alliance was within sniffing distance of victory in these areas and stayed away from disrupting the five-phase election in spite of seeking poll boycott, sources said. Over the past few years, the Maoists had been strongly criticizing incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Soon after the Election Commission announced the polling dates, they began issuing calls for poll boycott in their strongholds. They extended their two-day Magadh zone bandh by another day to coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gaya rally on August 9. The bandh, however, had little impact on Modi’s meeting. Nitish’s alliance with RJD and Congress, sources said, saved the election from Naxal violence. A Maoist leader told TOI that the result showed the people of Bihar wanted the new government to reflect their aspirations.
“The NDA candidates are inclined towards development of industry and business. People at the ground level in Bihar are rooted to agriculture. They are always united when it comes to casting their votes. They know who will work for them,” he said. Most grand alliance seats in Left wing extremism (LWE)-hit areas remained intact. M L Choudhary of JD(U) won from the Tarapur constituency in Munger district where Neeta Choudhary of the same party was the sitting MLA. Similarly, Virendra Kumar Singh of JD(U) won again from the Nabinagar assembly seat in Aurangabad, a radical Red stronghold. He defeated BJP’s Gopal Narayan Singh. Prahlad Yadav of RJD defeated sitting BJP MLA Prem Ranjan Patel in Lakhisarai district’s Suryagarha.
Bauxite Issue: Ayyanna on Maoists’ Hit List?
VISAKHAPATNAM:Do the Maoists plan to counter the State government’s strategy on bauxite mining? Going by their moves to retaliate the government’s unilateral decision, it certainly appears so. According to information, the Maoists have decided to depute special operation teams to the north coastal Andhra region to give a fitting answer to the government on the bauxite mining issue. The senior police officials have information and alerted their bosses on the possibility of the Maoist operations. With the State government taking a U-turn on the bauxite mining in the green Visakhapatnam agency, the Maoists have put TDP activists and leaders on their hit list.
The banned Maoists are planning special operations in the Visakhapatnam region in retaliation to the mining issue. According to highly placed sources, Panchayati Raj minister Ch Ayyanna Patrudu has received warnings from the Red-rebels on the bauxite mining in the agency. Meanwhile, all the TDP leaders and activists in the agency have started opposing bauxite mining and lending their support to the tribals. The Left wing extremists of Vizag agency have been opposing bauxite mining since the proposal was mooted. Even when the State government did not take a formal decision, the Maoists opposed it by putting up posters, holding public meetings and conducting recces on the aluminium company.
The Maoists even kidnapped three TDP leaders, including the Chintapalle ZPTC, last month, giving scary moments to the tribals and TDP leaders in the agency. Though there were a few incidents like killing tribals branding them as police informers, the tribals seemed to be getting closer to the Maoists after the TDP government took the decision to mine the bauxite in the agency. The latest reports said that Maoists reportedly warned Panchayati Raj minister Ch Ayyanna Patrudu and some other ministers in the agency. Agency sources said that the Maoists had prepared action teams and planned to launch attacks in the agency to make their presence felt.
A tense situation has been prevailing in the agency for the last couple of days, marked with dharnas and protests by the local tribals with the support of Left parties. “We have also alerted all our forces. Their strategy is guerilla operations which is very dangerous. According to the information, this time they will not limit their actions to the Agency areas but spread to all vulnerable spots in the district. We have already informed all the TDP leaders to move to safe zones,” said a senior police officer involved in anti-Maoist operations.
According to Maoist sympathisers, senior leaders are discussing the government’s move. Already security has been tightened and all TDP leaders in the region have been alerted. All the government employees have expressed their dissent on the bauxite mining. After Diwali, the employees and teachers in the remote areas in the agency areas have decided to go on leave en masse due to the Maoist threat.