Himansu Shekhar Rout

After a week-long treatment at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, BJP's Berhampur Lok Sabha candidate Pradeep Panigrahi was discharged on Monday and accused the BJD of conspiring and sponsoring the brutal attack on him.

“As the Hinjili Assembly seat and Aska seat are slipping away from the hands of the BJD, the ruling party hatched a conspiracy against me and carried out a sponsored attack on me in the presence of police by using Independent candidate Pintu Das,” he told media.       

He also added that he was at the Gosani Nuagaon booth-132 in Berhampur to inquire if the EVM was properly sealed or not, when Pintu Das suddenly attacked him. "When I gained my senses, I found that the SDPO was at the place. I asked the SDPO why I was attacked despite police presence, but he made an irrelevant reply,” he added.

He claimed, "Pintu Das has good links with the BJD and he had earlier wanted to contest on a BJP ticket from the Berhampur Assembly seat. As his wish remained unfulfilled, he patched up with the BJD and contested as an Independent. As the Chief Minister is going to lose in Hinjili and the BJD is losing in Aska seat, the ruling party orchestrated the attack on me.”

“If the cell phone of Pintu Das is examined or sent for data mining, the truth will come out,” the BJP leader claimed.  

Past incidents

Referring to some past incidents, he also said that he was strongly opposed by BJD supporters and his vehicle was attacked with eggs and stones on August 25, 2023, when the then 5T secretary VK Pandian was on a visit to Ganjam. 

Later Panigrahi joined the BJP and since then, he has been sharpening his verbal attacks on Pandian and the Chief Minister. 
As for his allegation against the police, our reporter tried to get the response of the Ganjam SP, but he refused to comment citing ongoing elections as the reason.   

‘It is an internal matter of BJP’

BJD’s Ganjam unit president Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik however, dismissed such allegations. “What has happened is an outcome of the difference of opinion among the BJP leaders. It is not proper to link the incident with the BJD,” he observed.

Also Read | Second phase polls: Odisha witnesses murder during voting period, booth rigging attempts & clash 

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