BJP vows to crush Maoists in Bastar (Lead)

December 18th, 2008 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Dec 18 (IANS) After an unprecedented win in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist bastion Bastar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to launch a decisive battle against the rebels, a senior party leader said Thursday.For the first time, the BJP won 11 out of 12 assembly seats in the nearly 40,000 sq km Bastar region, which has been hit by Maoist violence since the 1980s.

It lost only the Konta seat — by just 192 votes.

Explaining the significance of the BJP sweep in what has been a Congress bastion, the leader told IANS that the new BJP government “will honour the people’s mandate” and attack the Maoist bases in the forested areas.

He said the Bastar mandate was also a vote for Salwa Judum, a government backed controversial anti-Maoist movement launched in June 2005.

Thousands of Maoists run a de facto administration in Bastar’s interiors. They have killed over 1,100 people, including 726 civilians, in the state since 2004.

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