The Hitavada State Bureau
Election Commission resolves to hold Lok Sabha polls on schedule despite the blast just 48 hours ahead of voting
The deceased include Dantewada MLA Bhima Mandavi; driver Danteshwar Mourya; Head Constable Chhagan Kuldeep; Head Constable Ramlal Oyami and Constable Somda Kawasi
Around 48-hours ahead of Lok Sabha election in Bastar, Naxals on Tuesday triggered a powerful explosion using an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) killing BJP Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Bhima Mandavi and four security personnel in insurgency-hit Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, police said. In a wake of the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted “Shri Bhima Mandavi was a dedicated Karyakarta of the BJP. Diligent and courageous, he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. His demise is deeply anguishing.
Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti.” The incident took place near Shyamgiri hills falling in limits of Kuwakonda police station at around 4 pm. Notably, Mandavi is the lone BJP MLA in Bastar division. According to police, BJP MLA from Dantewada Bhima Mandavi and four personnel of District Force (DF), deployed in security of the MLA, were killed in the powerful IED blast triggered by ultras in Bastar division going to poll on April 11 in the first phase. The intensity of the blast, which took place around 25 km away from the district headquarters, was so powerful that it ripped apart the bulletproof vehicle of Mandavi into two pieces. Remains of the vehicle were scattered in radius of around 200 metre. “Mandavi was returning from Bacheli after attending a public meeting and heading towards Nakulnar when rebels attacked the convoy. After being informed about the attack, reinforcement was rushed to the spot and security in the district has been heightened,” said a senior police officer. The security personnel killed in the blast were identified as driver Danteshwar Mourya,
Head Constable Chhagan Kuldeep, Head Constable Ramlal Oyami and Constable Somda Kawasi, informed the police. Bhima Mandavi has been speaking vociferously against Naxals whenever there is a Naxal attack in the state. It may be recalled that two police personnel, including Sub Inspector Rudra Pratap Singh, Assistant Constable Manglu and a cameraperson of DD News Achyuta Nand Sahu, were killed in a Naxal ambush that took place in insurgency-hit Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh in October 2018. In the backdrop of the attack, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel cancelled his election tour and rushed to the state capital where he is huddled in a closed door meeting with senior administrative, police officers and advisors. While condemning the death of BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and security personnel, the Chief Minister said that no violence can ever be justified and this is a cowardly act by Naxals. After the death of Mandavi, a pall of gloom descended among BJP leaders and party has called a meeting to review the situation arising after the death of MLA.
Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Assembly, Dharmalal Kaushik, has demanded to postpone the election in Bastar. The BJP stated that the law and order machinery in the state has collapsed absolutely and the Congress Government has failed in intelligence collection even while the first phase of polls is to be held in the state within 48 hours. The leaders stated that its an attempt to create terror among the voters so that they do not come out on the day of polling to vote. Several senior leaders have condemned the killing. In the aftermath of today’s incident, a high-level meeting was convened at the official residence of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel which was attended by top brass of Chhattisgarh Police, including Director General of Police (DGP) D M Awasthi, DG (Naxal Ops) Giridhari Nayak, DG (Intelligence) Sanjay Pillay and others. The meeting was underway till the reports last came in. The meeting also took some strategic decision, albeit it was decided to keep it classified.