A cloud of uncertainty is now plaguing the agency area with the Maoists making repeated attempts to create panic among the public in general and aspiring people’s representatives in particular, against participation in the impending panchayat elections. Several villages have already boycotted the panchayat elections following the Maoist diktat, veiled heavily under potent ruses such as the bauxite mining and other pending problems to the district administration.
A tense situation is prevailing in the agency area ever since Maoists resorted to physical assaults on former public representatives and aspiring candidates over the last two weeks. They also have been making threats in villages and leaving behind pamphlets asking the adivasis to boycott the elections. They attempted to murder former market committee chairman V Subbarao at Chintapalle last week, followed by an attack on former ZPTC M Matsyaraju and another leader in GK Veedhi mandal on July 10.
Latest on Sunday, the Maoists took away the nominations filed in the panchayats of Nurmati and Boyitali in G Madugula mandal and threatened the people’s representative against contesting in the panchayat elections. Police sources said that the encounter in which a woman Maoist was killed Saturday, occurred when they came across the Maoists who were holding a meeting suspected to being held to plan on obstructing the elections.
“The Maoists have become active in the past a couple of weeks and have been holding meetings against the panchayat elections. We have specific information about it. Hence, we have identified about 15-20 persons from each panchayat who are in the hit list and asked them to be cautious. However, it is a common tactic used by the Maoists and we are confident that it would not affect the elections to a large extent,” said a senior police officer working in the agency area of Visakhapatnam district. Going by the response to the nominations in some mandals, it seems that the Maoist threats are yielding results. For instance in GK Veedhi mandal where the Maoists conducted attacks, only 55 sarpanch nominations were received, next only to Narsipatnam where 49 nominations for sarpanch post were received. Similarly, Chintapalle mandal also received about 88 sarpanch nominations following Maoist movement in the area. Four panchayats like Jarrela, Mondigedda, Vanchula, and A Darakonda in GK Veedhi mandal boycotted the elections altogether, while Sileru, Gummirevu, and Devarapalle panchayats received no nominations.
The situation is no different in the neighbouring Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts where the police are making elaborate arrangements to tackle the Maoist menace. Though no major violence occurred in these districts, the police said that the Maoists have been threatening aspiring public representatives against taking part in the elections.