Maoists may contest polls 'tactically'
Maoist extremists operating in Jharkhand have devised a new way to make their presence felt in the rural bases of the state. And this time, and probably for the first time, they have decided to participate in the direct democratic process.
If reports of the state Intelligence department are to be believed, then the Maoist ultras will be participating in the upcoming panchayat elections of the state. But the modus-operandi of their participation will be a different one. The candidates would either be the spouses of the extremist leaders for seats reserved for women or their kin contesting from the general seats, specially in the rural pockets where the Naxalites have a stronghold.
The reports trickling down from the intelligence sources of Palamu district, indicated that the ultras were planning to play a key role in the rural polls of the state, scheduled to be held in September.
"The call for poll boycott by the Naxalite extremist organisations and clandestine outfits is just an eyewash. This time there has been a policy shift in the internal meetings of the ultras and they have unanimously decided to participate in the panchayat polls. The efforts were made after their new strategy of controlling the rural economy of the state, was adopted. This time they have also done their homework to ensure the wins of their candidates," the report indicates.
The report, which came just ahead of the 28 August flush-out of ultras from the Jhumra Pahad jungles, have raised several eyebrows in the capital and among the political circles. A huge cache of landmines, arms, ammunitions and cash were seized from the remote hideout of the extremists. There were reports with the police that around ninety men and women selected from Purulia district in West Bengal and Vishnugarh in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand were being trained in a makeshift camp in the jungles of Jhumra Pahad. The raid where more than 500 rounds of bullets were exchanged, resulted in no arrests, forcing the rebels to abandon their camp and retreat deep into the jungles.
The report also says that the ultras have decided to participate in the polls, through the "back door" after there was a realisation that most people in the rural belts of the state were in favour of participation in the panchayat polls and this time the call for a poll boycott would not hold enough ground and might even prove counter-productive.
The decision to field their spouses and kin came into existence after a recent order, passed by the EC, barred anyone from participating in the polls who had been reported as absconding for more than six months. The order also elaborated that the names of those persons be struck out from the voters' list. This order struck a blow to the political aspirations of the ultras, as most of their candidatures and voting rights will be nullified with the order coming into effect.
Von: 30 August 2005, http://www.thestatesman.net, by Dipankar Bose