Poll violence, new normal in odisha?

Blood is being spilled on the streets of Odisha as the state scripts many firsts this poll season.

Published: 23rd April 2019 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd April 2019 01:09 AM   |  A+A-

Blood is being spilled on the streets of Odisha as the state scripts many firsts this poll season. Veering from its hitherto peaceful premise, the state, which has emerged as a high-stakes political battlefield in the 2019 elections, seems to have taken the war quite literally as poll violence has been unleashed in many regions.

At least three murders and scores of incidents of violence, including organised attacks on political adversaries, have been reported even as the state is set to complete the third phase of elections on Tuesday with the last to be held on April 29.

On March 25, the state was rocked by the gruesome murder of Ramachandra Behera, an independent candidate in the 2014 polls, who was all set to join the BJD in Keonjhar, over political enmity. A BJP mandal president in Khurda, close to Bhubaneswar, was subsequently gunned down with the party accusing the ruling BJD of the murder. In the last two days, violence has reached its peak.

Congress state president Niranjan Patnaik and other party workers sustained injuries after they were attacked in Keonjhar. In Bhubaneswar too, there has been an unprecedented spurt in poll violence marked by bomb attacks on offices and candidates belonging to both the  BJP and BJD. And former minister and BJD strongman Pradip Maharathy was arrested on Monday for attacking Election Commission officials, who had gone to inspect his farmhouse in Pipili for illegal stashing of cash and liquor.

Odisha is not West Bengal, UP, Bihar or Andhra Pradesh where poll violence is prevalent. But this time, the state appears to be brazenly moving in that direction. And all three major parties are trading charges. The signs are certainly ominous for the state that has upheld high standards of political civility over the years. This journey down the slippery slope might prove to be very costly. The onus is thus on leaders cutting across political parties to protect and preserve the values of the democracy.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp