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  Opinion   Edit  11 Apr 2019  Polls: Heed safety concerns

Polls: Heed safety concerns

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 11, 2019, 5:16 am IST
Updated : Apr 11, 2019, 5:17 am IST

The forces are moved around to provide protection to voters, candidates and campaigners, besides polling stations and ballot boxes.

The mangled remains of a vehicle after a BJP convoy was attacked by the Maoists in Dantewada on Tuesday. (Photo: AP)
 The mangled remains of a vehicle after a BJP convoy was attacked by the Maoists in Dantewada on Tuesday. (Photo: AP)

Even before the first ballot is cast for the Lok Sabha polls, for which voting begins today, on Tuesday a Chhattisgarh BJP MLA and four police personnel accompanying him during campaigning were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Maoists, who have long had a threatening presence in the state's Bastar region.

This is the broad area where senior Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla and top state party leaders were blown up after being targeted by the Maoists in 2013. CRPF personnel routinely encounter death in the area.

It appears that BJP legislator Bheema Mandavi asked the 50-odd District Reserve Guard personnel with him to return as campaigning was closing for the April 11 polling. But toward the latter part of the afternoon, against police advice, he insisted on taking a shorter route to his base though he was warned there would be no road opening party (ROP) along the way. In hindsight, it appears it was too great a risk to take.

This tragedy was avoidable. For the sake of democracy, and for their own safety, political people in sensitive areas must be mindful of the security environment. Our system does cater to their safety, especially at election time.

The forces are moved around to provide protection to voters, candidates and campaigners, besides polling stations and ballot boxes. Democracy has the support of the people. This is why violent elements, including terrorists, have not so far succeeded in their mission to disrupt elections in India. Guarding the campaign should be moved up a notch after the fatal attack on the MLA.

Tags: 2019 lok sabha polls, bheema mandavi