In Chhattisgarh’s Maoist heartland, appeals for votes go up in their name

November 13th, 2008 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyKonta (Chhattisgarh), Nov 13 (IANS) A day before polling, posters have gone up in villages in the heart of Chhatisgarh’s Maoist-controlled areas, appealing to voters in the name of the Maoists to vote for either the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate. The Maoists have called for a poll boycott.The posters have gone up overnight in villages where neither candidate showed up to campaign, officials said. They include villages such as Gollapalli, Kishtaram, Maraigura, Murligura, Banda and Injeram - all in Konta constituency, where the rebels have held sway for decades.

Official sources told IANS: “The banners and posters were put up in name of the Dalam (local unit) of the Maoists, asking people to vote for Congress while a few banners appealed to them to vote for the BJP.”

A local politician said: “It was a deliberate attempt by the Congress and BJP candidates to beat the Maoists’ poll boycott and bag some crucial votes in the name of the Maoists.”

Konta goes to the polls Friday, along with 39 constituencies in phase 1 of the Chhattisgarh assembly polls. Voting in the other 51 constituencies will take place Nov 20.

The Konta seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, has 187 polling booths for about 145,000 voters. Several villages where “fake Maoists” have appealed to people to vote for certain parties are close to the Andhra Pradesh border.

Congress candidate Kawasi Lakhma is expecting a win for the third consecutive time from the seat while the BJP has fielded Padam Nanda.

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