Political intolerance & violence take centrestage in Odisha elections 2019

Bhubaneswar: As 2019 election battle in Odisha gains momentum, several incidents of violence from different parts of the State have now emerged as a major concern. Moreover, the ruling-BJD and BJP are now at loggerheads with leaders of either party blaming each other for such unrest.

Be it the attack on BJP candidates in Bhubaneswar yesterday or the attack on RTI activist in Kandhamal, there has been a rise the number of political attacks in the run up to the second phase polls in the State.

RTI activist from Kandhamal Mohammad Jiauddin sustained head injuries after being attacked by miscreants recently. He alleged that some BJD workers targeted and attacked him bringing several irregularities done by ruling party LS candidate Achyuta Samanta to the fore.

“We were discussing on an issue outside when suddenly supporters of BJD LS candidate Achyuta Samanta came in two cars and attacked me.”

However, no comments could be obtained from Achyuta Samanta and the Biju Janata Dal.

In another incident, BJP’s Bhubaneswar-Central candidate Jagannath Pradhan and Lok Sabha contestant Aparajita Sarangi today moved the Chief Electoral Officer alleging that BJD activists pelted stones during a rally on Friday night.

What is more shocking that the BJP has also accused the ruling party workers of threatening supporters of the saffron party in Hinjili, the Assembly constituency of Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik.

State BJP spokesperson and party’s Hinjili candidate, Pitambar Acharya sat on dharna at Sergada Police Station in the constituency yesterday alleging that the BJP workers led by block chairman Santosh Patnaik alias Pintu tore off BJP posters just before CM Naveen’s visit to the Assembly segment. He added that the ruling party workers are threatening BJP workers by brandishing guns in hands.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan targeted the BJD government and said that it has been misusing the government machinery including Odisha and Commissionerate Police for attacking on BJP workers.

He, however said that despite resorting to such tactics, the ruling party will not be able to stop the BJP juggernaut in Odisha.

“Let be assure that if they (BJD) beat us with stones or bullets, people will hit them by pressing ballot switches,” Pradhan said.

However, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra hit back at Pradhan and said that it is BJP who actually relies on bullets, but the BJD only believes on the power of ballot.