MALKANGIRI: While politicians in other parts of the State are busy campaigning for the panchayat polls, Maoist threat has cast a shadow on electioneering here even as the first phase of the five-phase poll will be held on February 11.
Campaigning is yet to begin in many Maoist-hit areas like Podia, Motu, MV-79, Kalimela, Chitrakonda, cut-off region and Govindpalli. This comes against the backdrop of Maoists releasing posters and banners urging people to boycott the elections as a mark of protest against the State Government’s apathy towards them. However, the rebels have so far not issued any threat to any particular candidate.
“The Maoist threat has compelled us to confine our campaign to a limited area. Campaigning in the interior areas against the Maoist ‘dikat’ is certainly a risky affair,” said a ZP candidate contesting from Kalimela region, requesting anonymity.
Sources said the situation is similar to the last Assembly election when the Maoists had unleashed a reign of terror by killing former ZP chief Nanda Kartami and ZP member Somnath Madkami just days before the poll. As per reports, the ultras have their control over as many as 108 gram panchayats in the district. The district administration, however, is hopeful of a peaceful polling. It has been decided to deploy paramilitary forces at the polling booths as a precaution.
Naveen to Campaign Today: With the BJD candidates in MV-79 and Mathili Zilla Parishad zones facing stiff opposition from their Congress rivals, the party supremo Naveen Patnaik will campaign for them on Monday. The Chief Minister would address the first meeting at MV-79 and then proceed to Mathili. In MV-79 area, BJD candidate Paritosh Sarkar in zone 11 is facing opposition from his BJP rival Nimai Pal and Krishna Mondal of Congress. The other candidates in fray include Raghunath Majhi (CPI) and independent candidates, Subhranshu Sahu and Bishnu Swain.
In Mathili too, both Congress and BJP candidates have posed tough challenge to the BJD nominees in Zone I and II.