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Odisha Maoists oppose polls, call for shutdown

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Urging people to boycott the polls, the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoists has called for a shutdown in parts of Odisha on April 10, a rebel leader said in an audio message on Tuesday.

The leader of the party’s Bansadhara-Ghumusar-Nagabali division who called himself Umakant has termed political parties like the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party anti-people.

In an audio message released to the media, the leader has urged the voters of four southern districts — Koraput, Rayagada, Kalahandi and Kandhamal — to observe a shutdown in their respective areas where balloting will be held on April 10.

He also accused the BJD government of exploiting the poor, downtrodden and innocent tribals and handing over their lands, forest, water and mineral wealth to the corporates. People must unseat this party from power, the rebel leader said.

Last week, police seized several anti-election posters allegedly put up by the rebels in Rayagada district. Maoists are active in more than half of the state and the area where they have called a shutdown is considered their stronghold.

Odisha has asked the central government to provide three choppers and additional security forces for conducting free and fair polls in the Maoist-affected areas.

Polling for 21 Lok Sabha seats from Odisha and the 147-member state assembly would be simultaneously held on April 10 and 17.

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