Congress leaders have already begun quitting party and elected posts in the areas where the Maoists have considerable influence, following Maoists' threat.

The CPI (Maoist)’s early warning to political activists not to participate in the panchayat elections, followed by attacks on Congress leaders, death of a Maoist in an encounter three days ago and snatching of nomination papers from officials on Sunday, has triggered tension in the Agency area with local people fearing more trouble.

Congress leaders have already begun quitting party posts and elected posts too in the areas where the Maoists have considerable influence, following the threat from Maoists. Seven gram panchayats in three mandals have not received nominations.

People’s fears

The first phase of polling in the district is in the Agency area (Paderu Revenue Division), on July 23 and in spite of the district administration’s announcement that security is in place the local people are not sure if the poll process will go on smoothly. Two groups of Maoists entering villages where the scrutiny of nominations was scheduled on Sunday and coolly taking away the nomination papers filed for four panchayats, has shaken the people.

It is also surprising that police protection was not provided for scrutiny of nominations in the villages where the Maoists are expected to create trouble. Candidates and the voters of the gram panchayats are thus being denied their right to participate in the election process.

Resignations galore

Former ZPTC and mandal-level Congress leader M. Matsya Raju quit his party post four days ago and with him PACS president G. Babu Rao quit the post and also the party. Their houses were looted during famine raids last week and both were sternly told not to participate in the elections.

On Sunday, Reemala Ananda Rao, another PACS president, quit. More resignations are expected in the next few days. Contestants in other places are not undertaking campaign fearing attacks by the Maoists. Polling day might witness more violence in mandals such as Chintapalli, Koyyuru, Pedabayalu, GK Veedhi, G. Madugula and Munchingput.

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