Odisha Last Phase Polls Leave Trail Of Violence, Booth Rigging

Political experts believe when the invincible fortress of the BJD came under threat, ruling party's highhanded response to such threat resulted in poll violence

Bhubaneswar: The last and fourth phase elections saw widespread violence in Odisha along with cases of booth rigging and booth capturing marring the biggest festival of democracy.

All the three major political parties in the State- BJP, BJD and Congress- have brought poll violence and booth rigging allegations against each other. While BJP moved the Chief Electoral officer (CEO) of Odisha alleging booth rigging at as many as 64 booths by the ruling BJD and its Biju Yuva Bahini members, the BJD moved the CEO charging the saffron party with rigging in 12 booths in Bari.

Odisha Congress on the other hand accused both the BJP and the BJD of turning the peaceful electioneering and poll process in the State into a gory one.

Odisha BJP Vice President Samir Mohanty (File Pic)

“The reason behind the increase in violence during the elections was BJD’s fear of defeat. To save itself from the Modi wave, the BJD resorted to booth rigging and capturing,” alleged Odisha BJP vice president, Samir Mohanty.

BJD spokesperson Samir Das said that his party leaders and workers have never been involved in any type of poll violence.

BJD Spokesperson Samir Das (File Pic)

“BJP’s allegations of booth rigging and capturing indicate that BJP is smelling defeat and realizing that they have been rejected by the people of Odisha,” Das said.

Lashing out at both BJP and BJD, Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik said that BJD workers were present in all those places from where such incidents of poll violence were reported. “Both BJD and BJP were involved in violence.

Elections 2019 Niranjan Patnaik
OPCC Chief Niranjan Patnaik (File Pic)

“Congress members were not involved in any violence during the elections,” said Patnaik.

Meanwhile, political experts believe that the BJD faced competition for the first time in two decades in Odisha and that was the very reason behind the party allegedly resorting to violence.

Political Expert and Senior Journalist Prasanna Mohanty

“When the invincible fortress of the BJD seemed under threat, the ruling party’s highhanded response to the same resulted in poll violence,” said senior journalist and political expert, Prasanna Mohanty.

Mohanty further said that the new political strategy of the BJD to ‘target and finish’ a few leaders like Bijayant Panda and others is also believed to have led to such violence in the fourth phase polls in Odisha.