Narayanpur | A Bharatiya Janata Party leader was killed on Saturday in Narayanpur district in poll-bound Chhattisgarh by suspected Naxalites, a police official said.
Ratan Dubey, the BJP's Narayanpur district unit vice president, was hacked to death with a sharp edged weapon at around 5:30pm in the market at Kaushalnagar village under Jharaghati police station area while he was campaigning for Assembly polls scheduled for November 7 and 17, Additional Superintendent of Police Hemsagar Sidar said.
"A police team has rushed to the spot. The body was brought to Narayanpur town. Security forces have launched an operation in the area to trace the unidentified assailants," he added.
Dubey was a member of Narayanpur Zilla Panchayat and Maal Vahan Parivahan Sangh of the district, the official informed.
According to an eyewitness, when Dubey was addressing a gathering of people, two persons came out of the crowd and attacked him on his head from behind.
"Dubey ran towards his car and tried to get inside but a few more persons surrounded him and attacked him with sharp edged weapons leading to his death on the spot. The incident led to chaos. BJP workers later rushed to the police station located around 5 kilometres away from the site," he said.
Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Pushkar Sharma told reporters adequate security is provided during the poll campaign, but in this case no information was given to the police about Dubey's visit.
Condoling the incident, BJP leader Om Mathur in a message on X said, "I am deeply saddened by the brutal murder of Chhattisgarh BJP's Narayanpur Assembly convenor and Narayanpur district vice president Ratan Dubey ji by Naxalites during the campaign. The entire party condemns this cowardly incident."
Mathur termed the incident as a targeted killing and said Naxalites were committing such acts as they are scared they will be eliminated after the BJP comes to power in the state.
"All BJP workers are with Dubey's family. We will eliminate Naxalism," he added.
State BJP chief Arun Sao attacked the ruling Congress and said the Narayanpur incident is a new episode in the series of targeted killings that is continuing under the patronage of the Bhupesh Baghel government.
"The Congress has been uprooted from Chhattisgarh. Hence, it has indirectly handed over to Naxalites the responsibility of creating an atmosphere of fear by encouraging violence," Sao alleged.
This is the sixth killing of a BJP leader by suspected Naxalites in Maoist-hit areas of the Congress-ruled state.
The incident comes amid accusations by the opposition BJP of "targeted killings" of its workers in the run up to the polls.
On October 20, BJP worker Birju Taram was shot dead by suspected Maoists in Sarkheda village in Mohla-Manpur-Ambagarh Chowki district.
The BJP had last month lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India seeking action into the Manpur incident.
It had also sought deployment of Central forces in "sensitive" and "highly sensitive" polling stations of Naxal affected areas during the Assembly polls.
The BJP had sought the removal of the Chhattisgarh Director General of Police and transfer of the Inspector General of Police of the concerned range and Superintendent of Police of Mohla-Manpur district.
Earlier in June, a local BJP leader was killed by suspected Naxalites in Bijapur district, while in February three BJP leaders were murdered similarly at different places in Bastar division.
Narayanpur is among the 20 Assembly seats where polls will be held on November 7. The second phase of polls to the 90-member House will take place on November 17, while votes will be counted on December 3.