The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Deadly turn to dirty run-up

Raipur, Nov. 30: The state that saw the most malicious round of campaigning suffered a vicious blow as Naxalites made good their vow to spread terror and set off a blast in Chhattisgarh, killing six policemen and a driver.

Tension ran high elsewhere in the state, too, where chief minister Ajit Jogi is locked in a bitter battle with the BJP.

Dilip Singh Judeo’s son Judhivir Singh was among 35 people arrested following arson and clashes between BJP and Congress supporters.

The cash-on-camera scandal involving Judeo senior had added an ugly edge to the campaign, making dirty tricks departments on both sides go on an overdrive.

Detained at Jashpur police station, Judhivir told The Telegraph that he had been deliberately held back so that the Congress could capture poll booths. The police said he had incited the BJP mob.

In Bilaspur, a person identified as Mustaq was killed this evening in a political clash.

Last evening, the Congress’ Bijapur candidate, Rajendra Pambhoi, narrowly escaped the landmine attack on his convoy at Kongupalli village of south Bastar, 450 km from Raipur.

The attack was carried out on a day the Election Commission called a meeting and warned political parties to desist from defamatory, communal and slanderous campaigning.

Director-general of police Ashoke Darbari, briefing reporters about yesterday’s attack, said the situation in Bastar is volatile. “We have intensified patrolling.”

Pambhoi’s convoy, he said, was on the way to Bhopalpatnam for campaigning when the blast occurred. “It was so powerful that all seven occupants of the jeep were blown to pieces.” Parts of their bodies were found as far away as 200 metres.

The violence picked up on Wednesday, a week after Ganesh Uike of the People’s War Group warned that the outfit would oppose the polls “violently”. The outfit triggered 13 serial blasts in Dantewara district that day.

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