Vikash Sharma

With only days left for the Jharsuguda bypoll, the political atmosphere is certainly heating up not only in the constituency but in Bhubaneswar as well.

All three major political parties- BJP, BJD, and the Congress have intensified their campaigning with the objective to grab the Jharsuguda Assembly seat which has fallen vacant after the brutal murder of sitting MLA and state Health Minister Naba Kishore Das.

There is a simmering tension among the parties, which was evident on Wednesday, after a face-off between the BJP and BJD workers during the campaigning of BJP candidate Tankadhar Tripathy at Mangala Bazaar under ward no 20 in Jharsuguda.

It is alleged that BJD activists opposed Tankadhar’s campaigning in the area for which palpable tension prevailed for quite some time. The BJP activists gheraoed the Town Police Station in protest of the attack on Tankadhar Tripathy. A BJP delegation also moved the CEO in Bhubaneswar and alleged goodaraj by BJD.

The Saffron party has also demanded the deployment of central forces in the Jharsuguda district.

“In Jharsuguda, BJD is creating unrest. We have demanded deployment of central forces along with Odisha Police,” said BJP spokesperson, Dilip Mallik.

BJD MLA Swarup Das said, “Our CM doesn’t tolerate violence and has been demanding 'Ahimsa' (non-violence) to be included in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. Hence, our party will not encourage violence in Odisha.”

In another development, BJP Jharsuguda district president, Mangal Sahu quit the party and joined the BJD on Wednesday. “I was a disciplined worker of the party. I worked diligently and strengthened the organization from the grassroots level. We all were neglected,” said Sahu.

Odisha BJP president, Manmohan Samal said there will be no impact of Sahu’s exit on the party. “For us, our ideology is more important than any person. There will be no impact,” said Samal.

Similarly, BJP leader Trinath Goyal once again joined the BJD today. Tribal leader Mahendra Nayak, who had contested the 2019 elections on a Congress ticket also joined the BJD. Even though BJD’s position in Jharsuguda is said to be strong, the way it is including leaders from the other parties ahead of the bypoll has raised questions as to whether it is due to a change in the political equation, or fear.

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