Sunday, March 15, 2009

Maoists in a fix over strategy for LS polls

15 Mar 2009, 0318 hrs IST, Arun Kumar , TNN

PATNA: With their poll boycott call given during Chhatisgarh assembly polls having boomeranged, the CPI(Maoist) leadership is in a fix to finalise
its strategy for the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar and Jharkhand where the outfit has a meaningful presence. In Chhatisgarh, the poll boycott by Maoists helped the BJP in winning almost all seats in Maoist-dominated tribal areas.

The Maoists have been known for issuing poll boycott call in Bihar and Jharkhand often ending up boosting the electoral chances of many candidates in their pockets of influence. Earlier, they had generally been doing it to help particularly those belonging to the RJD and in some cases a few candidates having mafia background.

The Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI), which in 2004 merged with erstwhile PWG and formed CPI(Maoist), had earlier been perceived as RJD's `B team'. RJD leaders too had been in the habit of describing their support as "natural", stating that both the extremists and RJD fight for social justice. They used to say while Maoists use violence as a weapon to fight social injustice, the RJD believes in non-violent methods.

The poll boycott in Chattisgarh, where their writ runs large in tribal hinterland, had resulted in the victory of BJP candidates. Chattisgarh experience has emitted a wrong signal nationwide -- much to the dislike of the Maoists' Central leadership.

On the other hand, according to the Maoist insiders, the RJD now being firmly in the pro-US camp, its Central leadership is now reportedly wary of RJD chief Lalu Prasad. For it they have many other reasons too.

In such an atmosphere, what strategy would the Maoists adopt this time? A new Bihar-specific poll alliance, United Left Bloc (ULB), comprising CPI, CPM and CPI(ML), has surfaced on the political map this year. Though the Maoists have sharp differences with the ULB constituents, ideologically speaking, Maoists might see a meeting ground with them on the count of anti-US policies, their being pro-poor and originating from similar ideological stream.

CPI National Executive Committee member Jalaluddin Ansari expects a matured decision from the CPI(Maoist) Central leadership. CPM legislature group leader in Bihar legislative council Basudeo Singh too feels that in spite of sharp political differences over many issues between the Maoists and ULB partners, a pro-poor strategy is expected from CPI(Maoist) leadership for the Lok Sabha polls.

Maoists have formidable presence in 18 districts of Bihar and almost all the 24 districts of Jharkhand.

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