Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Bhima Mandavi and four security personnel were killed on Tuesday when their convoy was attacked by suspected Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. The attack comes two days before the first phase of the Lok Sabha election begins in the State.
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.
“Shri Bhima Mandavi was a dedicated Karyakarta of the BJP. Diligent and courageous, he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. His demise is deeply anguishing. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” tweeted Prime Minister Modi as he offered condolences.
“Strongly condemn the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh. My tributes to the security personnel who were martyred. The sacrifices of these martyrs will not go in vain,” Modi’s twitter handle continued to say.
“We strongly condemn the Naxal attack on the BJP convoy in Chattisgarh. Our deepest condolences to the families of the brave security personnel & Shri Bheema Mandavi,” read the official Twitter handle of Indian National Congress.
The attack is being seen as a clear call by the Naxalites to boycott the Lok Sabha polls that are scheduled to take place in Chhattisgarh in three phases. Dantewada falls in the Bastar Lok Sabha constituency, which goes to the polls on April 11.
The Election Commission has however clearly stated that the first phase of polling in the State would be held as per schedule.