Himansu Shekhar Rout

Veteran Congress leader and party’s MLA candidate Uma Ballav Rath and Independent candidate Sujit Mohapatra had a brush during nomination filing at the office of the sub-collector in Puri on Monday.

Earlier on Sunday, Uma Ballav Rath was allegedly attacked and injured.

Congress had earlier named Sujit Mohapatra as its MLA candidate but replaced him with Uma Ballav Rath on Sunday. This reportedly caused animosity between the two leaders. The supporters of Sujit allegedly went on a vandalising spree at the party office in Puri.

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As per reports, the two leaders came to the sub-collector’s office to file nomination. During the nomination filing, Uma and Sujit allegedly jostled with each other before exchanging blows.

Speaking to the media, Uma Ballav Rath said, "I faced an unfortunate situation yesterday and I was attacked. We had never faced such an incident earlier even though I had contested from this seat five times. This is highly condemnable. If politicians indulge in these activities, such leaders cannot work for people.”

As for today’s incident, he added that people protected him. 

Sujit said, "After getting a Congress ticket, I had filed my nomination. Later, my ticket was cancelled and injustice was meted to me. It was Uma Ballav and Bhatka Das who struck a deal over the Vedanta land issue, leading to the cancellation of my ticket.”

However, Sujit condemned the attack on Uma Ballav Rath, saying that it was a matter of venting out of emotions by some youths.

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