Hours after a powerful explosion ripped through the Balanga police station in Puri on Tuesday morning, the main Opposition party in the Odisha Assembly, the BJP, launched a direct attack on rival Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for trying to influence the forthcoming by-election to the adjoining Pipili Assembly constituency. The BJP has also raised serious questions over the role of the police in the incident.
Senior BJP leader and the party's national spokesman Sambit Patra lashed out at the police callousness in anticipating the mishap.
"Fortunately there has been no loss of life in the explosion. But the question is if the protectors (police) cannot ensure their own safety, how can they secure the lives of people," Patra said.
It is being said that firecrackers stashed inside the police station had triggered the explosion, but it remains to be probed whether it was indeed crackers or any other explosive, Patra said.
The BJP spokesperson also pointed out that there is a mandated timescale for the safekeeping of such seized explosives which cannot be kept inside the police station beyond that. If that was the case, why was the stock not disposed of? Besides it also needs to be inspected whether the explosion was caused from outside or occurred inside the police station. People need answers soon because an election process is underway and there are chances that such incidents may influence voting, said Patra.
The BJP leader alleged that the ruling BJD has always tried to influence votes by using brute power in Delang, Pipili and other adjoining areas through gang wars, bombings, firing and booth capturing. Recently, bombs were also hurled at BJP's Satasankta office, added Patra.
He further informed that the BJP will knock the doors of the Election Commission to lodge a formal complaint against the BJD for trying to sway the poll in its’ favour using its ill-intent.
Meanwhile, the BJD launched a counter attack against the allegations of BJP.
BJD Minister Sameer Dash claimed that there was no link between the police station blast and the election. Preparations for the poll have already concluded, so this incident will no way have any impact on the election, claimed Dash who represents the Nimapara assembly constituency under which Balanga falls.
As per reports, the cracker stock along with some solar batteries had been kept inside the police station premises since 2018. It is suspected that the batteries might have caused the explosion, the Minister added.