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Saffron in Red corridor, BJP needs an anti-Maoist strategy

The BJP had blamed the previous UPA government of being “soft” towards the Naxals.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | Raipur |
December 24, 2014 3:39:43 am

With its victory in Jharkhand, the BJP now controls two tribal-majority states, most affected by Left-wing extremism (LWE). Over the past few years, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have registered over 75 per cent of the total Maoist violence in the country.

The electoral success in Jharkhand now leaves a big task before the Centre and the governments in the two states to firmly tackle Maoist menace. The BJP had blamed the previous UPA government of being “soft” towards the Naxals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose predecessor had termed Maoists the “biggest internal security challenge”, is yet to unveil his agenda to tackle the issue. He did not even visit Chhattisgarh after 14 CRPF personnel were killed in a Naxal ambush in Sukma this month.

Due to fragmented polity, Jharkhand has witness sprouting up of several ultra-Left groups in the last decade. If Tuesday’s results, reflect a yearning for stability, it cannot be achieved without tackling these outfits.

The Chhattisgarh government has always blamed the lack of coordination on the Centre’s part and also cited shortage of funds for its failure to tackle the rebels.

After the encounter of Mallojulla Koteshwara Rao alias Kishnaji in 2011 and the fall of Lalgarh in West Bengal, almost all top Maoists are stationed in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and cadres are drawn from the disillusioned tribal population.

Of the nearly 90 security personnel killed by the Maoists this year, 70 were from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand alone. The two states accounted for the killings of 75 of 114 security personnel in 2012, and 113 of 142 in 2011.

Having dominated the Red territories electorally, Modi must now bring the two states together, chart a strategy to address the concerns of people and reclaim the zone largely abandoned by the government.

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