Pradeep Pattanayak

As voting for 109 urban local bodies, including three Municipal Corporations, was underway on Thursday, sporadic incidents of violence were reported from different parts of the State. 

Tension ran high at Booth no-III set up at Jhankarpada School in Kantabanjhi NAC, Bolangir where polling for Ward no-14 and 15 was underway. When the poll was going on peacefully, a few Biju Janata Dal (BJD) workers alleged that Congress workers were attempting to capture the booth. In no time, an otherwise peaceful poll atmosphere turned tense as clashes broke out between the BJD and Congress supporters. 

For safety of the booth, the police had to shoo away the crowd involved in the fracases. Outside the booth however, the workers of both the parties exchanged blows and kicks, leaving two BJD leaders-Pinki Kharsel and Bolangir district secretary Firoz Khan injured. 

Later, Khan and his supporters staged a sit-in in front of the booth. “The Congress activists tried to intimidate the voters. We are staging the demonstration and will continue it till they are arrested,” said Khan. 

Similarly, tension gripped Booth no-233 set up in Ankuli Bauri Sahi under Ward no-40 of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) after the agents of different political parties found an Electronic Voting machine (EVM) kept inside a car parked outside the Booth. Later, BeMC’s deputy commissioner/Supervission Officer Adwitya Swain intervened and brought the situation under control. Swain said the machine was kept as standby to be used in case any machine malfunctioned.  

A group clash between the BJP and BJD workers was reported from Chikiti NAC under Nuagaon police limits in Ganjam district during the day. While the reason behind the violence is yet to be known, in the melee, a few BJP workers were injured.  Four bikes and a car belonging to BJP leader Manoranjan Dyan Samantara were also vandalised. On being informed, Chikiti SDPO, Nuagaon police station IIC and one platoon police force reached the spot to control the situation. 

Similarly, at Booth no-IX in Ward no-VII of Pipili NAC in Puri district, a BJP agent was attacked by the workers of a rival party. The seriously injured agent has been admitted to the Pipili government hospital. 

An incident of group clash between two rival political parties was reported from a Booth in Natha Sahi under Ward no-25 of Bhadrak Municipality. On receiving information, extra police force was deployed at the spot to bring the situation be under control. However, palpable tension is prevailing in the locality, sources said.