In Maoist-hit Chhattisgarh, Maoism not a poll issue

April 15th, 2009 - 3:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, April 15 (IANS) Over 1,000 lives have been lost in Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh since 2005 but Maoism hardly finds a mention during the poll season with both the main parties - the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress - completely ignoring the issue during campaigning.
Eleven Lok Sabha seats in the state go to the polls in the first phase Thursday. The Maoists, who run a de facto administration in the state’s southern Bastar region, comprising about 40,000 sq km of area and five districts, have announced a boycott of the polls.

The rebels have threatened to chop off hands of those who defy the boycott and go to vote.

“It’s surprising that political parties in the state that claim to be serious of finding a permanent solution to the Maoist problem have failed to even raise the issue during poll campaigning,” Vinod Singh, a political analyst, told IANS.

The ruling BJP’s campaign was confined to “achievements of the state government” and “step-motherly treatment of the Congress-led central government”. While the main opposition Congress is banking on “corruption by the BJP government” theme.

“It’s true that Maoism issue skipped the poll campaign agenda. But we have focussed on development and have sought votes on the basis of performance and welfare works of the state government,” said senior BJP leader and state cabinet minister Brijmohan Agrawal.

Congress state general secretary Ramesh Varlyani said: “Maoism is a big issue in the state but it did not figure much in my party’s poll campaign as the state government has taken the corruption to a saturation level and we are trying to expose the corrupt BJP government before the voters.”

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