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Rebel den shuns rally

Jhargram, Oct. 15: Maoists today organised processions in villages around Jhargram to follow through their campaign aimed at keeping villagers away from Mamata Banerjee’s rally.

Residents of 20 Maoist-influenced villages in Jhargram stayed away from the chief minister’s programme, saying she did not keep her promise to withdraw the central forces from Jungle Mahal. All the villages are situated within 10km of Jhargram stadium, the venue of Mamata’s rally.

Anima Mahato, a Nedabahara resident, said: “We voted for her (Mamata) expecting that we would get justice. Around 8,000 people had voted from these 20 villages and the CPM had got only 100 votes. We voted for Mamata because she had promised to withdraw the central forces if she came to power. But nothing has yet been done.”

The residents of these villages took out processions to protest the chief minister’s “failure to keep her promise” and dubbed “eyewash” the development projects announced by her.

Sources said the Maoists had organised the processions. Local recruits of the Maoists were seen walking in the rallies, the sources added.

In the past few days, the Maoists had campaigned in these villages and asked the residents not to attend Mamata’s rally. The rebels had told the residents that the Trinamul government had “fooled” them by announcing development schemes “that would never materialise”.

Birhandi resident Pushpa Mahato said: “The joint forces beat up women during a raid in our village last year. My mother was assaulted mercilessly. She died a few days later.”

A Maoist leader claimed most of the people who attended the chief minister’s rally today were from Midnapore town. “None from the villages where we have strong bases were present at the meeting.”

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