The security forces gunned down two alleged members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) in Sukma district of south Chhattisgarh on Saturday.The encounter took place in Burkapal area of Sukma when the District Reserve Guard (Chhattisgarh police’s special anti-Maoist unit) and the Special Task Force were conducting an anti-Maoist operation in the area.The security forces also recovered 11 country-made weapons from the spot of the encounter suggesting some more Maoists may have been injured or killed.In a separate development, Maharashtra police found one more body of a Maoist in Gadchiroli district.“A decomposed body was found in the forest near Indravati river in Tadgoan forest area of Gadchiroli where an encounter had taken place on last Sunday. One AK-47 rifle was also recovered during a search operation in the area today. Today’s recovery has taken the total number Maoists killed in Kasansur encounter to 34,” Gadchiroli police said in a statement.Mr.Abhinav Deshmukh, the district Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli, informed that 19 bodies have been identified so far and 14 bodies have been handed over to the relatives of the deceased.
With the Narendra Modi government fighting the perception of being anti-Dalit, leaving the BJP vulnerable, key NDA ally from Bihar Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP), headed by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, is confident of getting more seats to contest in Bihar during the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. The LJP is also lobbying for seats in Uttar Pradesh. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads the Janata Dal(U) and Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha of the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, have staked claim for a fair share of the 40 seats. The BJP holds 22 seats, LJP has six and JD(U) four. Mr. Kushwaha’s party has the lone seat that he himself represents. The BJP has indicated that it is not willing to fight the poll on fewer than 20 seats. The remaining 20 has to be shared among the three allies. “The government is not in a position to discount us if it wants to ensure that its pro-Dalit credentials are not questioned. We contested seven seats in the last election and lost only one, that too by a very small margin. So there is no question of us accepting fewer than seven,” a top LJP leader said.The party said that if its services are to be utilised in Uttar Pradesh, then it should be rewarded. “There is a huge population of the Passi caste in eastern Uttar Pradesh and also in Rae Bareli and Amethi. It is obvious that the BJP would want LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag to be involved in campaigning. The BJP will do well to at least give us three or four seats in the State,” the leader added.Mr. Paswan has been maintaining a studied silence. “We have had no discussions on seats. It will be done at the due time,” th Minister told The Hindu.