Poll as scheduled
The Election Commission said the first phase of polling in the State would be held as per schedule.
The ambush occurred at the Shyamagiri hills when the MLA’s convoy was heading to Kuwakonda from the Bacheli area, which is about 450 km from the State capital Raipur. The Maoists blew up a vehicle in the convoy with an improvised explosive device (IED) and opened fire at its occupants. Security forces were rushed to the area, police sources said.
The killed security personnel were identified as driver Danteshwar Maurya and District Force jawans Chhagan Kuldeep, Somdu Kawasi and Ramlal Oyami.
Modi condemns attack
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted condolence messages and paid tributes to those killed.
Mr. Modi “strongly” condemned the attack, saying the sacrifice of those killed would not go in vain.
The Congress condemned the attack, with party president Rahul Gandhi terming it a “very tragic” incident.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has spoken to the DG, Anti-Naxal operations. Former CM Raman Singh said, “I am in contact with Central Ministers and spoke to PM Narendra Modi an hour ago. I will go to Dantewada and meet the families of the deceased.”
For the elections on April 11, a security blanket of over 80,000 personnel, and drones, has been deployed in and around the Bastar region.
Immediately after the Dantewada naxal attack, the State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) held a meeting on video-conferencing with collectors and SPs of the Maoist-affected districts covering Phase-I and Phase-2 elections.
The CEO instructed them to take utmost precaution over the next few days in view of polls that would be conducted as per schedule, said the EC spokesperson.
Preliminary findings suggest that against the advice of an area police station in-charge, Mr. Mandavi had taken a route where there was no road-opening party of security personnel, the Commission was told.
Four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were killed and two others injured in an encounter with Maoists in Kanker district on Thursday.