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Mrunal Manmay Dash

As campaigning for the ensuing Panchayat polls in Odisha reaches a fever pitch, the race among candidates for the coveted posts in the Panchayati Raj institutions has become intense with strange and unusual occurrences dominating the political arena.

The latest in the series of surprises has been received from Machakuta Panchayat under Angul’s Chhendipada Block where ‘missing’ Sarpanch candidate, Manoj Sethi, was found at his in-laws home at Sangeipali village near Deogarh.

As per reports, Sethi went out of his home on Tuesday afternoon and did not return. Suspecting foul play by rival candidates, Sethi’s family members lodged a missing complaint at the Chhendipada Police station.

The Police sprang into action and tracked down Sethi to his in-law’s home near Deogarh on Wednesday.

Sethi was brought back to Chhendipada on Wednesday by a Police team from Deogarh.

Speaking to reporters Sethi said, “Some people abducted me last evening and kept me in a jungle for the whole night. They threatened to kill my children if ever I go out for campaigning.”

However, he hasn’t yet lodged a complaint to that effect.

Informing about the incident, Angul SP, Jagmohan Meena said, “Sethi was traced to a village, Sangaposhi, under Kundheigola Police limits in Deogarh. We are conducting an investigation and more details will emerge during the probe.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the Samiti member candidate for Zone-I of Nuagaon panchayat under Hindol block of Dhenkanal district was rescued last week after he reportedly went missing for two days.

On the other hand, Maoist posters have appeared in the Swabhiman Anchal under Chitrakonda Block of Malkangiri district demanding the candidates and people of the region to keep themselves away from the Panchayat polls.

The posters pasted by the CPI (Maoist) Visakha-East Division Committee urged the candidates to withdraw their nomination papers. The rebels threatened that if the candidates fail to do, they will be punished in praja court.

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