Electoral route behind surrender of CMAS supporters?

Bhubaneswar: The desertion of above 450 supporters from extremist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) in past two months in Narayanpatna block of Koraput district has kept the district administration in illusion with officials now smell their surrender could aim to gain political mileage in coming days.

“Since the general election due next year, their (CMAS supporters’) move en masse in a phased manner to join the mainstream could be to garner support of villagers of the region. They may field candidates of their own in the ensuing election to make their voice heard,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity.

“Though it would be premature to tell anything now, a big future plan could not be ignored,” said the official.

Political analysts too echoed a similar voice. “It has been observed from statements of the surrendered CMAS supporters that they are disillusioned by promises of Maoists and the Sangh. Hoping to get financial and logistical support, the villagers had joined the Sangh. But they got nothing rather cheated, neglected and used as human shields by Maoists to carryout unlawful activities. While many Sangh supporters were jailed, their families are languishing minus any help from the Sangh or Maoists,” said an observer.

“Also, their support to Sangh was meant for developmental activities like road connectivity, electricity and irrigation in their region. But the scenario is no different even after they spent couple of years in the group blindly supporting their activities,” stated the observer adding they have realized about their past futile move.

Highly placed sources however said the surrendered CMAS supporters are most likely to take up the electoral route to get their basic rights which they are deprived of.

Comprising 127 villages and a population of 38,000, Narayanpatna block is a very backward area with around 70% of the villages not having proper road, electricity, education and health care facilities.

Police said, as many as 116 supporters shunned ties with the outfit in January while the number so far this month is 287.