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Naxals worried over impressive voter turnout in Chhattisgarh

In the 2009 general elections, Bastar and Kanker seats had witnessed voter turnout of 47.33 and 57.20 per cent respectively.

By: Press Trust of India | Raipur |
Updated: May 2, 2014 11:55:43 am

The unprecedented voter turnout in Lok Sabha polls in insurgency-hit south Chhattisgarh has apparently upset the Naxals, who are holding meetings to express disappointment over participation of tribals in the electoral process, according to Intelligence inputs.

Some key leaders of outlawed CPI(Maoist) in Dandakaranya region recently held meetings in areas where they found huge participation of people in polling inspite of their poll boycott call and asked villagers about it, IB sources said.

“In some pockets of Bastar, Dantewada, Kondagaon and Narayanpur, Naxal leaders reportedly held meetings with villagers recently after the Lok Sabha election in Bastar constituency,” a senior state IB official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

“However, police couldn’t go deep enough to check the reason behind their meetings at several places. As per the informers, the Naxals were enquiring how voting was recorded high in the region despite their intense poll boycott call,” the official said.

The two worst Maoist-hit Lok Sabha seats – Bastar and Kanker – recorded 59.40 per cent and 70.29 per cent voting respectively in the last month’s three-phased Parliamentary polls in the state. Bastar went to polls on April 10 while voting took place in Kanker on April 17.

In the 2009 general elections, Bastar and Kanker seats had witnessed voter turnout of 47.33 and 57.20 per cent respectively.

Also, over 70 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas of the state during last year’s Assembly polls.

According to the informers, Naxals were asking the tribals why they took part in election.

The senior cadres of the banned outfit have directed the local jan militia members to focus on rebuilding base and win trust of the people in those areas where voting percentage was high, the official said.

Naxals are already frustrated with the response of the people in Vidhan Sabha elections, and now the Lok Sabha polls voting has further added to their worries.

They are likely to fear losing hold in those areas where development is happening in Bastar and youths are turning towards cities for education, the IB official said.

Meanwhile, experts in the state feel high voting percentage is a good sign for Bastar, which has been fighting the Naxal menace for past three decades.

“The number of voters has increased in Bastar in last five years…it’s a good sign that people are becoming aware and they are thinking to bring change in the tribal heartland,” Prof Girishkant Pandey, head of the Department of Defence Studies in Government Science College here, told PTI.

From time to time Naxals review their strategies and analyse the mindset of people towards the movement. They might have scaled up their visits to villages after polling to review the situation after electoral process, he said.

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