Bengal Battle 2021: Jhargram, once maoist hotbed is today caught in debate over promises made & kept

Just four assembly seats yet Jhargram over the past one decade has transformed from being the citadel of ultras to now a political hotbed. It could hold the key to the political success for either BJP or TMC in entire Jungalmahal region comprising of four districts. Between 2009 and 2011, Jhargram was a maoist hot bed. On November 24, 2011 dreaded Maoist leader Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji was killed by combat forces in Jhargram, ushering in a renewed hope for peace in the whole of Jungalmahal region where the ultras had carved out 'liberated zones' as their fiefdom. Hundreds of lives were lost, many young people were abducted and radicalized during that volatile period. With the elimination of maoist leaders, State government of Mamata Banerjee had rolled out slew of development measures to allure the maoist cadres to come back to main stream living. Several Maoist leaders had surrendered, gave up arms and were later given government assistance for rehabilitation. Jhargram, and the rest of Jungalmahal belt had been extremely backward, the reason why Communist Party of India Maoist had made inroads there while claiming to champion the cause of the people. Mamata Banerjee in the past 10 years of her governance has showcased Jungalmahal as her success story, claiming development has replaced deprivation there, food has replaced starvation. Times Now travels to the same village from where Kishanji's body was recovered. Villagers of Burisole village claim there has been some development like water connection and new roads. But there are others too who fear their aspirations have been betrayed. Many ultras who had once picked up arms, have now been inducted into home guard service as part of the integration process. While most of them regret their past but some lament that they are yet to receive all what were promised. Jhargram is a story of aspiration and struggle. It is equally a story of promises made and promises yet to be kept.