BJP Khurda Mandal president shot dead; party calls for Khurda bandh today

Khurda: As electoral battle keeps Odisha on fire ahead of the remaining three rounds of elections, incidents of pre-poll violence have begun to hit the State politics. Just hours after pre-poll violence erupted in Bolangir, a well-known leader of Khurda BJP unit was shot dead by an unidentified miscreant in the town late Sunday night.

Following the incident, the BJP has called for Khurda bandh from 8 am to 2 pm today.

According to information, a bike-borne miscrent fired three rounds of bullets and killed BJP’s Khurda Mandal president Manguli Jena near party’s Nabina Bag office in the town.

Khurda BJP MLA candidate Kalu Khandayatra who witnessed the incident said, “As Jena was about to leave us after a meeting, we were discussing with him on the road while suddenly, a person riding a scooty came and shot two rounds of bullets at him and also opened fire another round of bullet at me. Even though I escaped unhurt, Jena was killed.”

Asked about the reason behind the incident, Khandayatra said that he could not identify the accused who had covered his head with a helmet but blamed that it could be BJD’s goodaraj to eliminate him.

After being informed, police launched a probe into the incident. “We are investigating whether it is a poll-related violence or fallout of past rivalry. A special team has been formed to nab the accused involved in the murder and strong action will be taken,” said a police official.

Meanwhile, strongly condemning the incident, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has apprised the State Police DG about the matter.

“There is no place for violence in democracy as it is battle of ballots not bullets. I urge party leaders and workers to have faith in democracy and keep peace at this time,” Pradhan tweeted.

BJP’s Aparajita Sarangi also condemned the incident and said, “Anarchy-like situation is currently prevailing in Odisha, especially in Bhubaneswar Parliamentary constituency. People will not forgive the particular political party involved in this crime and give a befitting reply.”

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik too condemned the incident and requested the Election Commission to direct the police to take stringent action against those involved in the murder of the BJP leader.

BJD MLA candidate, Khurda said, “BJP’s allegations against the ruling party are completely baseless and false, BJD never wanted to associate politics.”

On the other hand, DGP Incharge BK Sharma informed IG (Central Range) Soumendra Priyadarshi will monitor the probe. “A team of Crime Branch including an Inspector has already initiated investigation into the incident. Efforts are on to identify and nab the accused,” said Sharma.