The Maoists are reportedly exerting pressure on contestants, supported by different political parties, to withdraw from the panchayat elections, for which the nomination process is coming to an end and there is a likelihood of many contestants withdrawing and also quitting their parties in the next day or two. The threat from the Maoists is more pronounced in Chintapalli, G.K. Veedhi, G. Madugula and Pedabayalu mandals where they have considerable influence and presence. However, the situation was not as serious in other Agency mandals as electioneering is visible in Araku Valley and in mandals like Paderu, at least in the villages along the major roads, for the July 23 polling. The situation in the interior areas of these mandals is not known.

Letters from Maoists

The CPI (Maoist) has reportedly sent letters and messages to the contestants in Chintapalli and other mandals and the contestants are expected to oblige the party in a day or two. Contestants supported by the Congress, TDP, YSR Congress, CPI and CPI (M) have reportedly received the Maoist threat to their life if they do not stay away from the elections. The central regional committee-I of the CPI (Maoist), consisting of 80 members, has moved from Odisha into the adjoining mandals of Visakhapatnam district to disrupt elections, it was reportedly learnt.

Seven Panchayats in Chintapalli, GK Veedhi and Pedabayalu did not receive nominations for the posts of sarpanches or ward members and Maoists took away nomination papers filed for four panchayats in G. Madugula mandals. Some Congress leaders declared that they were not in the contest. Meanwhile, the police intensified combing in the Agency area to make the atmosphere congenial for holding the elections.

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