BJP chief visits Karma's family amid threats

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Rajnath Singh visited the family of slain Congress leader Mahendra Karma in Faraspal village in Dantewada district on Wednesday, amid Maoists warning his outfit against participating in a “Vikas Yatra” in Chhattisgarh.

The Maoists’ threat came  through hand-written banners in the forests of Nagaldand village in Kanker district,  

The BJP chief’s visit to the Maoist-infested area  came at a time when the Chhattisgarh Congress announced its decision not to participate in an all-party meeting called by Chief Minister Raman Singh on Thursday.

The meeting was convened in the wake of  Saturday’s killing of  27 people, including senior Congress leaders, in Bastar by the Maoists.

“The state government is not doing anything. It failed to provide security to the Congress Yatra. These all-party meetings have no meaning,” Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Ravindra Choubey told reporters at state Congress headquarters.

The BJP government had convened the meeting as part of its exercise to take all political parties into confidence for a renewed offensive against rebels in Bastar .

Raman Singh said in Jagdalpur en route Faraspal that the fight against the  rebels was possible only by a joint effort of the Central and state governments as  “Maoism is a national problem,” affecting many states across the country.

The Congress rejected the alleged propaganda by the state BJP unit that the route of its “Parivartan Yatra” to Keshlur from Sukma on the fateful day was changed at the last minute by a Congress functionary.

“The route plan has been prepared a long time back and the party has communicated it to the police and also our workers,” said Chhattisgarh PCC office-bearer in charge of media Shailesh Nitin Trivedi.
On the contrary, he said, the police were barely visible on May 25, while villages and even urban areas are turned into cantonments for Raman Singh’s rallies.

“We demand President’s rule in Chhattisgarh as paramilitary forces were pulled out of Sumak emboldening the Maoists to attack the Congress convoy. This government should not continue even for a minute,” he added.

Former chief minister Ajit Jogi, too, charged Raman Singh with failing to curb Maoist violence.
Meanwhile, speculation is rife on  the next Chhattisgarh Congress chief to replace  Nandkumar Patel, who was also killed in Saturday’s Maoist attack. Assembly elections are round the corner in the state.

 Party sources here say that Union Minister of State for Food Processing and Agriculture Charan Das Mahant is one of the front-runners.

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