Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The violent incidents reported pre and post-elections have emerged as a major issue of concern among the peace-loving populace of the State.

The father of a BJP worker, who happens to be the saffron party's panchayat president, was allegedly run over by a vehicle of a BJD supporter at Jamapada village in Kendrapara district during the last phase of the election in Odisha.

The victim has been identified as Purusottam Swain. BJP workers in the area are shocked over the incident.

Violent incidents

"My father was standing on the roadside. Some BJD workers ran a vehicle over him. Some BJD supporters had earlier indulged in booth rigging and when I objected, they had beaten me and warned me to kill my family members,” said Kunjaban Swain, son of the deceased. 

"To murder the 75-year-old innocent father of one of our leaders is like a blot in Odisha politics. People of Odisha will never forget it," said BJP MLA candidate, Tejeswar Parida. 

However, no reactions could be obtained from BJD and the police administration regarding the matter. 

In another incident, BJP Yuva Morcha warned of a stir if the accused who attacked BJYM’s Odisha unit president Abhilash Panda is not arrested by 11 am on Monday.

BJYM members warned to gherao Odisha DG office as no action has been allegedly taken even after 72 hours of the incident.

BJYM vice-president Sangram Patra questioned why no action is being taken against Chandbali MLA Byomakesh Ray, local Sarpanch and other accused.

"Chandbali MLA Byomakesh Ray is a habitual offender. He has many criminal cases pending against him. Police have not taken any action against him so far. The local sarpanch and his relatives were also involved in the attack. No action has also been taken against them. If the accused are not arrested within 24 hours, we will gherao the DG office and DG will be responsible for the subsequent law and order situation," said BJYM vice-president Sangram Patra at a presser.

However, no comments could be obtained from Byomakesh Ray.

In another incident, BJD moved the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) against independent candidate Himanshu Sahoo for the violence during the election rally of BJD candidate Pranab Balabantray in Dharmasala.

"Himanshu Sahoo and his supporters should be arrested for hatching a conspiracy, launching an assault and vandalisation during BJD rally," said BJD leader Sasmit Patra.

Senior BJP leader and the party’s Berhampur Lok Sabha candidate Pradeep Panigrahy was allegedly attacked by Independent candidate Siva Shankar Dash at Gosani Nuagaon during the first phase of polling on May 13. A day after the incident, BJP worker Dilip Pahana was killed and seven others were injured by some BJD supporters at Sri Krushna Saranapur village under Khallikote police station over putting up posters for poll campaigning. Similarly, BJP's Ganjam district president, Subash Sahu was allegedly attacked by a group of BJD supporters at Totapada under Chandbali Assembly on May 27.

War of Words

In response, the Opposition BJP and ruling BJD have been indulged in a war of words.

"BJD workers are resorting to violence as the part's defeat is imminent. They are targeting BJP supporters and launching an attack on them in frustration," said BJP leader Dilip Mallick.

"BJP has the knack of telling lies. They used to denounce others by telling lies. They have been indulging in violence, but blaming BJD. They should refrain from telling lies," said BJD leader Rajkishore Das.

CEO On Violence 

However, CEO Nikunja Bihari Dhal said that the number of violent incidents during the 2024 General Elections in Odisha has reduced in comparison to the 2019 General Elections.

"The number of cases about violence and Model Code of Conduct was 327 in 2029. However. the numbers have been reduced in 2024 and it has been limited to 124 so far. There is a 60 per cent reduction," said Dhal.

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