Pradeep Pattanayak

As if the State Election Commission becoming a puppet in the government’s hand was not enough, a handful of police officials have reduced themselves to workers of the ruling party in Odisha, said the State president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samir Mohanty, on Friday. 

Referring to the incidents of violence reported from various parts of the State during the conduct of voting for the urban local bodies on Thursday, Mohanty launched a scathing attack on the BJD dispensation at a press conference in Bhubaneswar. 

Tearing into the State government, Mohanty said, “Political intolerance has increased manifold. Violent incidents during the Panchayat and Urban body elections bear testimony to it. In terms of the political intolerance, our State is now trailing West Bengal.” 

“The power-hungry government in Odisha is just concerned about the chair and nothing else. Because of this, it has lost people’s faith.  All kinds of helps are being extended to criminals to subvert law,” alleged Mohanty. 

Accusing the government of not walking the talk, Mohnaty said, “On one hand, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is demanding nonviolence to be added to the Constitution while on the other, he never mentions about the violence occurring in his own State. This is the double standard approach of the government.”

The ruling BJD was quick in launching a counter attack. “They (BJP) were the precipitators the violent activities they are referring to. A bombing incident was reported from my area yesterday and the man behind it is none other than a BJP candidate who is contesting the election,” said government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick.  

Dismissing allegations of deteriorating law and order situation in the State, Mallick said the police have been taking appropriate action against the wrongdoers. 

Earlier in the day, Mohanty met BJP worker Ramesh Lenka at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack where the latter is undergoing treatment. Mohanty spoke to the doctors attending to Lenka. 

Lenka was attacked with sharp weapons when he opposed rigging attempts at Booth no-16 in Ward no-9 of Dhamnagar NAC in Bhadrak district. Lenka suffered grievous injuries and was immediately rushed to the Bhadrak DHH. He was later shifted to the SCBMCH.  

While talking to reporters at the SCBMCH, Mohanty had said, “Our party’s local leaders had informed the State Election Commission, the Collector and the SP about the vulnerability of the booth. However, nothing had been done in this regard which raises a question mark on the conduct of free and fair elections.”