BJP’S controversial candidate from Kandhamal Ashok Sahu was arrested on Tuesday from a rally in Phulbani town. He is lodged in G. Udaygiri jail after a local court rejected his bail plea.
After his arrest, Sahu, a former IPS officer, appealed to his partymen not to “create a scene” which would help those demanding postponment of polls in the communally sensitive district.
“You should not do anything that will help Archbishop Rapheal Cheenath’s demand to postpone the elections in Kandhamal,” he said. “The agitated party men and women must maintain their cool.”
Issuing a direction to the BJP rank and file in the district not to agitate, he said: “Winning in the polls mostly depend upon our supporters. If they maintain peace, none can defeat me. If they react emotionally, the EC will postpone the polls.”
Kandhamal SP Pravin Kumar said: “Sahu was arrested as per law. He will soon be forwarded to judicial custody.”
A local inspector in Phulbani first went to arrest Sahu around 2 pm and he was curtly told to show either the court orders or any such orders from the Returning Officer.
“The Election Commission is taking special interest as they have issued written instructions to the district collector to lodge two more cases against me. Some strong IPC sections have been lodged by the EC, which were not there in the original FIR, so I cannot avail bail. I will now seek justice in a court of law” said Sahu.
He also alleged discriminatory treatment by the officials. “Another candidate in Kandhamal faced the charge of distributing money to people residing in relief camps. He is roaming free, but I’ve been booked.”
The timing of Sahu’s arrest has raised few questions.
On Monday, Sahu had issued a press release saying, “I shall be attending a rally in Phulbani this evening and if the police have any valid orders, they can arrest me from the place.” Sahu, however, did not address the rally on Monday.This has given rise to speculation that Sahu volunteered to give himself up just 160 minutes before the end of campaigning for phase-I polls to gain sympathy from the voters.
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