Barely a fortnight ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bhubaneswar in Odisha to take part in a BJP National Executive meeting, Maoists attacked the Doikallu railway station in the state early morning on Friday, March 31. They left behind posters protesting against his visit and the appointment of non-Odia personnel in Railways, as well as the police and paramilitary forces, in a show of resurgence like the bandh they had called in November last year.
Modi is expected to visit the state on April 15 and 16, when the BJP National Executive meeting takes place. The chief ministers of all BJP-ruled states are also expected to make an appearance, besides several top leaders of the saffron party. The meeting is for the upcoming polls in the state in 2019, which will coincide with the Lok Sabha elections.
At least 30 Maoists attacked the Doikallu railway station in the Rayagada district of Odisha in the early hours of Friday. They triggered two blasts and vandalised some Railway equipment. They ultimately fled with two walkie talkies.
There was no report of any death or injury from the spot, giving rise to speculation that the Maoists had staged this attack with the sole intent of putting up the posters in protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit. The Naxals had detained a porter at the station for some time, but did not abduct him or anyone else.
Local reports say the posters not only protest against Modi's impending visit to the state but also the appointment of non-Odia personnel in Railways and the police and paramilitary forces in the state. This could be a ploy by the Left-wing ultras to drum up some support for them.
The attack itself could also be a ploy by the Maoists to show the authorities that their influence — although on the wane — was not exactly gone in the region, and that they could regroup and carry out even deadlier attacks at other places.