Pradeep Pattanayak

Incidents of group clashes, attacks and counterattacks on political workers and leaders over filing of nomination papers and selection of candidates for the forthcoming Panchayat polls were reported from Ganjam and Kandhamal districts on Tuesday. 

As per reports, a group of people at Mundamarai village under Dharakote Block in Ganjam district were preparing to file nomination papers for their candidate for the Panchayat elections when they were attacked by a rival group. Following this, clashes broke out, leaving three persons from both sides injured. One of them has received critical injuries. The injured have been rushed to the Aska government hospital for treatment. 

Similarly, tension erupted at Guma village of Belghar area in Kandhamal district after the supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) clashed over the selection of the Samiti member candidate. Later, both the sides lodged separate complaints at the Belaghar police station. 

Sources said, BJP and BJD workers had been at loggerheads over the fielding of candidates. Following heated exchange of words on Tuesday, the supporters of the saffron party reportedly targeted BJD supporters Dinabandhu Nayak, Birabara Barik, Arjun Paraseth and Mohan Paraseth, causing damages to their houses and shops. 

The political climate in the region began to heat up after both parties sought police intervention.

The Belghar police have launched a probe into the incident.