Test for democracy in the ‘Red Zone’
Communist Party of India (Maoists) have a strong presence in Southern Chhattisgarh — the Red Zone. In audacious attack barely six months ago, the top rung of the Congress leadership in the state were wiped out by the naxalites in the Darbha valley in Sukma. Prominent leaders like former PCC president Nandkumar Patel, former union minister V.C Shukla and the Mahendra Karma, who started ‘Salwa Judum’, were slain.
On November 18, the voters of Dantewara, Sukma, Kanker, Rajnandagaon, Jagdalpur, Bijapur, Konta, districts which are most exposed to Maoist insurgency, are going to exercise their franchisee.
The election commission has made an unprecedented security arrangements to conduct the assembly polls in an environment free of fear and intimidation. Around one lakh CPRF jawans have been deployed in 18 districts, to resist any Maoist activity intended to disrupt the polls.
Seniors leaders like Chief Minister Raman Singh, Forest Minister Vikram Usendi, Sports Minister Lata Usendi and other 143 candidates will be contesting for the 18 seats up for grabs in the first phase of the election.
The Congress has fielded Alka Mudliyar, wife of slain leader Ajay Mudliyar against Raman Singh. In 2008, Raman Singh trounced Mudliyar by 32,389 voters.
Mahendra Karma’s wife Devati Karma is representing the Congress from the Dantewada seat. An unknown face Chandan Kashyap, will fight it out with against Tribal Affairs Minister Kedar Kashyap from the Narayanpur seat.
Vikram Usendi will try to regain the faith of its voters again from Antagarh constituency.
Manturam Pawar, the only Congress MLA from Bastar district is representing the party from Konta constituency.
In 2008, the BJP won 15 out of the 18 seats that will go for polls in the first phase.
Whether they can repeat the same performance or not will be known on December 8, but really victory will be for democracy if people come out and vote in large numbers.