Maoists have considerable influence in GK Veedhi, Koyyuru, Chintapalli, G. Madugula, Pedabayalu and Munchingput mandals

There are few sensitive or hypersensitive areas in the plains areas in the district, however the challenge is conducting elections in the hilly and forest areas of the Paderu Agency Areas.

Of the 11 mandals under the Paderu Revenue Division some continue to be the last bastions of the CPI (Maoist). Two elections - for ZPTCs and MPTCs on April 6 followed by the general elections on May 7 pose a big challenge to the police. The July last gram panchayat elections recorded a good voter turnout and also 17 Panchayats went without elections due to threat from Maoists.

Elections were called for these 17 gram panchayats in January but at around half-a-dozen places no nominations were filed.

In the rest of places 70 per cent polling was recorded.

Superintendent of Police (Rural) Vikramjeet Duggal has taken up a campaign to wean away sympathisers and urging Maoists not to go ahead with their call for poll boycott as the Girijans are keen to participate in elections.

As the ZPTC elections are approaching (there is no municipality in Paderu division) more trouble is suspected in the area and the local feel the real test is the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in May since the ZPTC elections are announced at a short notice.

Maoists have considerable influence in GK Veedhi, Koyyuru, Chintapalli, G. Madugula, Pedabayalu and Munchingput mandals. The police have stepped up their preparations one month ahead of the elections, they are on the alert with reports of nine action teams of the Maoists moving around the Agency area planning to target former Tribal Welfare Minister P. Balaraju and former MLC K. Sarveswara Rao and those wishing to contest the elections in May.

Due to the threat, no nominations were filed for Injari and Ginnelametta MPTCs in Pedabayalu mandal.

The Maoists rarely attacked polling booths or polling staff. Such an incident happened in 1998 Lok Sabha mid-term elections at Saragudu. In 2004, they prevented the Telugu Desam candidates from canvassing.

Additional forces have been sent to augment the greyhounds, Special Police parties and the CRPF while helicopters were seen flying over the area for the last few days.

The police has sought five helicopters for the elections. Frequents checks are being conducted all over the Agency areas roads. The prevailing situation is tense but locals are used to it. The effectiveness of Maoists can be gauged by the number of candidates remaining in fray in the Agency area.