Elections to the Chhattisgarh Assembly in 2018: A call for boycott of Maoists looms over Dantewada

The situation in the interior areas of some districts – such as Dantewada, Bijapur or Sukma – is described by the locals as "explosive" because the Maoists asked the villagers not only to boycott polling stations, but also to leave.

At the entrance to the village of Pedpa, less than one kilometer from the new police station located in Kirandul, where is one of the largest deposits of iron ore in the country, lies the first Maoist poster, stuck on a giant mango tree.

It looks very cool and urges the villagers not only to boycott the polls but "also to the government backed by the companies".

The poster, on a large sheet of white paper, is written in red ink and signed by the Darbha Division Committee, one of the most powerful divisional units of the Maoists responsible for the Attack on Congress leader Mahendra Karma ahead of the 2013 elections.

"We have seen similar posters several times, especially before the elections, but less close to Kirandul, the main city of Dantewada," said K. Saji, Dantewada District Communist District Secretary (CPI).

"The villagers of Samalwar Panchayat, about 15 kilometers from Kirandul, tell me over the phone that our supporters want to vote, but they can not. Maoist party cadres told them not to leave their homes. That's why CPI loses because the majority of our constituents are in inland areas, "said Saji, who lives in a modest CPI office in Kirandul. He said the district tax collector had done "excellent work" and managed to deploy a considerable number of paramilitary forces in the interior areas.

The village of Pedpa, where Samalwar Panchayat voters are supposed to come to vote, looks like a war zone. Roads are dug and almost all others display a Maoist poster – each explaining why the vote "has no meaning and deserves a boycott".

CE Notice vandalized

The booths, however, are everywhere. Almost all schools in the region – Hiroli, Pirnarh or Perpa under Samalwar Panchayat – have the Electoral Commission. [EC] notice stuck on its doors.

In some cases, the Maoists vandalized EC notification or painted their slogans, flags or messages around it, asking the police and authorities to leave the village.

When asked about these threats, an EC official, on condition of anonymity, said: "I am extremely worried about what you are saying."

"It looks like they're [Maoists] we want to feel their presence and we even had to carry three trucks of banners and posters from the Bhairamgarh area a few days back, in order to clean the area from the Maoist documents, "said a senior police official.

However, the key question is whether the polling station can arrive Monday morning before the start of the polls in the Maoist regions. Samalwar Panchayat's leader, Nandram Madkam, is on hooks. "We are in a state of utter helplessness," he said.

"The partywale [Maoist cadre] make small meetings in the area, almost every village, over a period of time. They categorically told us not to vote and we are helpless, "Madkam said.

He may be more stressed by the squad of the special task force in his perfectly built house in the village of Madkamiras. The STF commander, who arrived from the neighboring area of ​​Palnar, spoke under cover of anonymity.

"As you can see, the situation is difficult," he said.

"We have been here for a few days and are conducting periodic exercises of domination in the region and other forces are entering the region.The entire region will be charged with forces tomorrow morning when the polling station will come to organize the elections." , did he declare. He also said that they had sued a group of about 25 Maoists last Saturday, but that they had escaped.

Despite the police and paramilitary presence, the Maoists continue to dig roads to prevent the entry of large police vehicles. The head of the panchayat said that many roads around Madkamiras are now cut off. "Even the night after the entry of forces, they dug a road behind the village, half a kilometer from us," said Madkam.