BJP worker killed ahead of second phase of polls in Odisha
A 32-year-old BJP leader was allegedly beaten to death by his BJD rivals in Odisha’s Ganjam district on Wednesday night, police said, hours ahead of Thursday’s polling in five Lok Sabha and 35 assembly constituencies in the state.
Five of Odisha’s 21 Lok Sabha constituencies and 35 of 147 assembly seats are polling simultaneously on Thursday. While four Lok Sabha seats went to polls in the first phase last week, the remaining 12 and 84 assembly constituencies will vote on April 23 and 29.
In the latest incident of political violence, police said Bharatiya Janata Party worker Santosh Pati of Kadalijhola village under Lathipada gram panchayat of Soroda assembly constituency in Ganjam was killed late on Wednesday.
The additional director general of police (law and order) Sanjeeb Panda said a case has been lodged with local police in this regard.
In another incident, the mutilated body of a BJP worker was found in Agajhola village under Bhanjanagar assembly constituency of Ganjam district. Police, however, the worker was killed after a bomb kept in his trouser pocket exploded.
Similarly, three members of a family were attacked with sharp weapons in Kendrapara district allegedly by the sarpanch of Barimula gram panchayat and ruling Biju Janata Dal workers for attending a BJP rally. All the injured were admitted to Kendrapara district headquarters hospital.
The BJP’s national vice-president Baijayant Panda tweeted that the attacks showed “the panic & frustration of the ruling party”. “ECI must step in and put an end to this,” Panda posted on Twitter.
Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the BJD was resorting to violence as it sensed an imminent defeat in the ensuing polls. “The lawlessness will become the tombstone of corrupt BJD government,” he said.
The attacks on BJP workers came three days after a senior BJP leader was murdered just outside the party office in Khurda district. The criminal investigation department (CID) has now taken over the investigation.
In another incident, the opposition party candidate for Bijepur assembly constituency, Sanat Gadtia was allegedly attacked and stones hurled at his car at Kandhara village in Bijepur on Wednesday.
Later, a BJP delegation met Odisha DG-in-charge BK Sharma demanding action against BJD minister Sushant Singh and his brother Subrat Singh for the attack on Gadtia.
In Bhubaneswar, BJP leaders alleged that nine of its party workers were injured after being attacked by BJD workers near Mangala slum in Niladri Vihar area of Bhubaneswar. A complaint was lodged by the BJP at Chandrasekharpur police station.
BJP spokesperson Sameer Mohanty alleged that the incident happened when the party’s workers were campaigning for Bhubaneswar (North) MLA candidate Aparajita Mohanty. The party’s Bhubaneswar district general secretary Sushant Sabat and Chandrasekharpur mandal leader Manasi Manjari Ray Padhi also sustained critical injuries.
Party leaders alleged that MLA candidate from Bhubaneswar (Central), Jagannath Pradhan was attacked during party’s rally last Friday in Bhubaneswar. The Biju Yuva Vahini activists pelted stones at the BJP rally near Unit-8 club in Bhubaneswar, Pradhan alleged.