Sparks fly as campaign for Round 1 of polls ends
BJP, Cong rake up Maoist issue ahead of voting
RAIPUR: Campaigning ended on a combative note on Saturday for the first phase of polling in the Maoist stronghold of Chhattisgarh, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claiming to have almost ended left-wing extremism in the state and the Congress asserting it needed no lessons in patriotism from the BJP, in a riposte to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s allegation that it backed Maoist sympathisers.
BJP president, Amit Shah, spoke for the ruling party, taking over from Modi, who claimed on Friday that the Congress was soft on so-called “urban naxals,” or left-wing activists based in the cities sympathetic to the cause of Maoists, and accused it of describing the rebels as “revolutionaries”.
“The BJP government under chief minister Raman Singh has contained Naxalism and made the state almost free of it,” Shah claimed, releasing the poll manifesto. “A party that feels Naxalism is a medium for revolution cannot do any good for Chhattisgarh,” he added in a reference to the Congress. Gandhi retorted: “Don’t teach us patriotism. There is a line of martyrs in our party.”
CONTINUED ON P 10 ››RELATED REPORTS, P8
Congress president Rahul Gandhi during a visit to a gurudwara in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon on Saturday.