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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The Opposition political parties and the ruling BJD blamed each other for the incidents of attack on media personnel at various places in Odisha during different phases of polling for the three-tier Panchayat Elections.

The mudslinging between the major political parties came on the backdrop of a brutal attack by unidentified miscreants on three journalists of electronic media during the third phase of election on Sunday. 

The journalists had gone to cover the alleged loot of ballot boxes from two booths at Bachala Panchayat under Binjharpur block in Jajpur district when they faced the wrath of some people.

A few days ago during the first phase of elections, a group of journalists were also roughed up for covering alleged booth rigging in Puri district. 

Meanwhile, Odisha BJP General Secretary Golak Mohapatra on Sunday alleged that the attack on scribes at various places during the polling has been sponsored by the BJD.

“People across the State are dissatisfied with the BJD and are not eager to vote for the ruling party. As mostly, voters have exercised their franchise in favour of BJP during the last two phases of the rural elections, the BJD has become intolerant with the development. So its supporters are capturing the booths forcefully and whenever, journalists are trying to cover the unlawful act, they are assaulting them brutally,” explained Mohapatra.

“Government sponsored booth capturing and poll violence is occurring across the State during the Panchayat elections. While few of these incidents are being reported in some sections of the media, many of them are going unnoticed,” said the BJP leader.

The State Congress unit also blasted Odisha Government for being lenient on the assaulters of the journalists.

“Newsmen are being targeted at various places across the State right from the outset. However, the government is soft on the assailants. Had they been punished from the first phase itself, incidents like which happened in Jajpur would not have occurred. It reflects the inactivity of the State administration and police forces,” said Congress spokesperson Nishikant Mishra.

Meanwhile, responding to the allegations, BJD Parliamentarian Subash Singh said it is a conspiracy by the Opposition parties against BJD.

“The Opposition parties are trying to divert public opinion by bringing in these false allegations. We strongly condemn the attack on the journalists during the polling for Panchayat Elections. Law will take its own course and stern actions will be taken against the culprits,” said Singh.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)

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