Maoists call for poll boycott in Odisha

Maoists appealing citizens through posters and banners to boycott the electoral process is not new during the elections in Odisha. PTI file photo

Maoist posters appealing people to boycott the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly elections surfaced in many areas in and around Baliguda in Odisha’s Kandhamal district on Wednesday.

“People will get real benefits not through votes but through armed struggle. Hence boycott the polls”, posters are written in the Odia language said.

Significantly, these posters appeared the day the backward district witnessed an encounter between the security forces and the Maoists.

A woman Maoist cadre, who is yet to be identified, was killed in the exchange of fire at Tumudibandha early on Wednesday morning.

Maoists appealing citizens through posters and banners to boycott the electoral process is not new during the elections in Odisha.

In fact, observers believe that more such posters and banners are expected to surface in different Maoist-hit districts in the run-up to the multi-phased elections in the state.

Elections will be held in Odisha in four phases beginning April 11. A majority of the  Maoist-hit districts will go to polls in the first three phases.

Maoists attempting to disrupt the polling process by forcibly snatching EVM machines in polling booths located in interior pockets is also not new in Odisha.

However, police sources said that adequate measures will be taken to smoothly conduct the polls.

On the day of polling as well as even during campaigns in the Maoist-hit districts, security will be beefed up.

The top brass of the state police would soon convene a meeting of Superintendents of Police (SPs) of all the Maoist-hit districts to discuss the issue.

“Maoist activities have come down considerably in all the districts in the state affected by left-wing extremism. However, we will be taking no chances. Adequate security arrangements will be made for the smooth conduct of the coming polls,” a senior police official said.

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