A chunk of the top leadership of Chhattisgarh Congress had been eliminated in a Maoist ambush with only months left for the 2013 Assembly elections. The Raman Singh led BJP government, which had a near smooth second term until then, was suddenly staring at a severe political crisis. However, Singh and his team, through skillful handling of the situation, not only averted the crisis but also scraped a narrow win in the polls.
As many as 27 people, including veteran Congress leader V. C. Shukla, PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel and tribal leader Mahendra Karma, were killed in Bastar on May 25 in an attack that some experts called ‘ 26/ 11 moment’ for the state. Stunned, the opposition Congress lashed out at the state government, accusing it of failing to provide adequate security to the party’s parivartan yatra in the Maoist- dominated Bastar region.
Many felt the situation then was threatening the very survival of the BJP government as the entire state was in shock over the gory attack. ” In terms of political impact the May 25 Maoist attack was as big an incident for Chhattisgarh as 26/ 11 terror attack for Mumbai and India,” says Anirudh Sharma, a political expert.
For two days after the incident the state government was reluctant to speak to the media. Even a section of bureaucracy strongly suggested that the government should lie low and allow the situation to pass over.