Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel strongly condemned Tuesday's Naxal attack in Dantewada which killed BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four others. He vowed revenge and said that Naxals would have to pay a high price for carrying out the dastardly act.
Tuesday's attack took place between Kuakonta and Syamgiri in Dantewada when Naxals triggered an improvised electronic device (IED) in a road on which Mandavi's convoy was passing. When informed of the attack, Baghel cancelled his work-related programs for the day and returned to his residence for a high-level security meeting. "Naxalo ki har goli ka jawab unhi ke bhasha mein denge," he said at a press conference following the meeting, which translates to 'bullet for bullet.'
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While expressing his condolences to family members of those killed in the attack, Baghel said that the attack was a result of Naxal desperation. "Our government was trying to gain trust of tribal public. So in desperation, Naxals committed this heinous crime," he said. "We reiterate our commitment towards upholding the principles of democracy.
Reacting to a top cop saying that Mandavi has been warned not to take the ill-fated route, Baghel said he won't want to make any statement with political undertones. He however said had Mandavi headed to the advice, he would have been alive.
It was reported that by evening, post mortem was conducted on all five who lost their lives in the attack and the bodies have been kept in a mortuary. On Wednesday morning, the bodies would be sent to their respective native villages.
Meanwhile, a political blame game has already begun over the incident with BJP saying the attack was a result of the Congress state government's soft approach. "I'm in contact with central ministers; spoke to PM an hour ago. I'll go to Dantewada & meet families of deceased...Congress ki boli aur goli ka asar dikhne laga hai," said BJP leader and former CM Raman Singh.
With less than 36 hours to go for the first phase of voting in Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission has said that polling would take place as per schedule. While Dantewada votes in the second phase - on April 18, Bastar - another Naxal-affected area - will vote this Thursday.