JAGATSINGHPUR: The unsavoury fight for credit between the BJD and the BJP reached a climax as the two parties engaged in full-blown clash at Tirtol, hours before the IOCL Refinery was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.
The supporters of the two parties attacked each other, damaged nine vehicles, burnt posters and display boards. At least 30 party workers were injured in the clash.
The Tirtol police station bore the brunt as BJD supporters allegedly ransacked it following an attack on party’s Niali MLA Pramod Mallick.
Sources said the simmering tension between the two parties that has been on the edge over the fight over credit for IOCL refinery, took an ugly form when they openly clashed with each other near Tirtol on their way to the Paradip venue at about 9 am. The BJP workers who accused BJD of using its machinery to stop them from proceeding to Paradip gave vent to their frustration when they spotted legislator Mallick who was also headed to the function. When the MLA tried to reason with them, he was thrashed by BJP workers who also damaged his vehicle.
Irate BJD workers then targeted the Tirtol police station and ransacked it on the grounds that police did not come to the MLA’s rescue. The furniture and files of the police station were damaged. The incident led to a huge traffic jam and for about three hours, all vehicles were stranded on the road.
Hundreds of party workers from both sides complained that police did not allow any vehicle upto Zero Point barring mediapersons and VVIPs. As a result, many had to return disappointed without attending the Prime Minister’s meeting.
Former minister and BJD’s district unit president Bishnu Das said Mallick was trying to pacify the mob when he was attacked by BJP workers leading to violence. Mallick has been referred to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack while the other injured have been admitted to Manijanga hospital.
IIC of Tirtol police station Abhinab Dalua said local police filed a case in this connection but the two political parties refrained from formally lodging any complaint.
At the meeting venue too, before Modi reached, there was tussle between BJD and BJP workers and police had to intervene to diffuse tension.
Meanwhile, scores of villagers from Trilochanpur and Dhinkia, who had given up their land for the industrial project, had to return disappointed when police sealed the main route from Trilochanpur towards Paradip over security issues.
“The detour was seven km long and it was difficult on our part to travel that far. We missed the opportunity to see the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister,” a villager rued.