RANCHI: Conducting free and peaceful polling in second phase is a huge challenge for the Jharkhand administration with 15 of the 20 Assembly seats being Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected with 1,844 sensitive booths.
Seraikella-Kharsawan and Khunti regions are LWE strongholds and centre of Patthalgadi movement where tribals have been told by their chiefs to abstain from voting.State police, however, said they are prepared to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections. “We have covered for the Maoist threat and call for poll boycott with adequate deployment of security forces in the region,” said ADG (Operations) ML Meena.
Incidentally, the second phase regions are home to the most wanted Left extremists with up to `1 crore offered for their capture. They include dreaded rebels such as Maharaj Pramanik, Amit Munda and Jivan Kandulna, who been fighting running battles with the police.
There are top Maoist commanders like Prashant Bose and Tech-Vishwanath alias Santosh who are entrenched in the vast Saranda forests of West Singhbhum, while Patiram Manjhi alias Anal Da has been holding fort in Seraikella, which had witnessed nine blasts in the last Lok Sabha polls.
Meanwhile, in Tamar, surrendered Maoist Kundan Pahan is facing opposition from his own cadres in Adki block with CPI (Maoists) Regional Committee calling him ‘corrupt’ and a ‘traitor.’ Red posters claimed he had escaped with `5 crore and 1 kg gold.