Apprehending that BJD MLA Susant Singh might come under attack in bypoll-bound Padampur, with two BJP leaders, who had earlier allegedly assaulted his brother, camping in the segment, the ruling party of Odisha on Friday urged the chief electoral officer (CEO) to enhance his security.
The BJD's request came days after BJP candidate Pradip Purohit accused the BJD of engineering an attack on his poll meeting in the assembly constituency.
Singh's brother Subrat was assaulted in 2018 ahead of Bijepur bypoll, following which two BJP leaders were arrested in connection with the case. They were released on bail a year later.
A delegation of the BJD submitted a memorandum at the office of the chief electoral officer and pointed out that the party feared the Bhatli MLA, also a former state minister, might be targeted again.
The party, in the memorandum, said, "It is also being heard that they are now planning attack BJD MLA Susant Singh in this Padampur by-poll and for that they are making preparation (sic)."
The memorandum, without taking name, noted that the two BJP leaders, who had allegedly attacked Subrat Singh, are star campaigners of the saffron camp for the bypoll.
The BJD alleged that the BJP has a "long history of electoral violence" in Odisha.
"We had in fact filed a petition with your office yesterday itself how BJD worker Sanju Bariha was murderously attacked on 23rd November 2022 by BJP worker Rinku Meher along with other BJP workers at Bubuda Village, Padampur Block leading to serious head injury for which he had to be shifted to VIMSAR, Burla as his condition worsened (sic)," the memorandum stated.
Meanwhile, the district administration of Bargarh, of which the Padampur segment is a part, said that elaborate security arrangements were in place for the smooth conduct of the December 5 by-poll.
Of the 319 polling booths, 74 are in Maoist-hit areas and have been identified as "vulnerable", district official said.
"Keeping in view the situation, the Election Commission has recommended deployment of nine companies of central forces (each comprising 100 personnel). Five companies have already been deployed in the district. This apart, 41 platoons (each comprising 30 personnel) of state police will also be stationed in Bargarh to maintain law and order situation," the official added.