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Senior Bharatiya Janata leader stages dharna amid third phase of Odisha rural polls after attack by Biju Janata Dal workers

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pratap Sarangi sat on a dharna on Friday before Berhampur police station in Balasore district demanding the arrest of Biju Janata Dal workers.

Published: 17th February 2017 06:19 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th February 2017 06:19 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BALASORE: Amid the third phase of Odisha’s panchayat polls, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pratap Sarangi sat on a dharna on Friday before Berhampur police station in Balasore district demanding the arrest of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) workers allegedly responsible for attacking him and some others while they were in a car on Thursday night.

 The BJP leader alleged that a group of BJD workers had pelted stones at him and his supporters at Berhampur square while he was returning to the BJP office after attending a workers’ meet at Zone-11. Three BJP workers, including two women and the youth wing president of this zone were injured in the attack.

A former MLA from Nilagiri constituency, Sarangi, however withdrew his strike after the police administration assured him the arrest of two of the accused persons by night and said they would initiate action against the others after Panchayat polls.

“A group of around 40 BJD workers pelted stones and bricks on the vehicle in which Sarangi was travelling. The attackers who tried to drag him out of the vehicle were unsuccessful as the driver protested them. The driver was injured,” said a BJP functionary Chandra Sekhar Nanda.

Meanwhile, police have registered a case following a written complaint lodged by Sarangi’s driver Rama Chandra Das, whose right hand was fractured in the incident. A counter FIR has also been registered by BJD workers. Sub-divisional police officer (Nilagiri) Swapneswar Mohapatra visited the spot and assured Sarangi of legal action against the culprits.

“We are investigating the allegations and verifying whether the attackers were BJD workers. Action will be taken as per law,” said a police official.

With the ruling BJD and BJP engaged in a tight battle, incidences of violence have been reported from across the districts. The third phase voting was completed on Friday for as many as 175 Zilla Parishad seats across 30 districts. The last report showed that polling was over 60 percent which is likely to rise after figures are received by the State Election Commission.

In the first two phase elections, BJD has retained its number one position but in a surprise surge, BJP grabbed the second position ahead of the Congress party. The saffron party which had won just 36 ZP seats in the 2012 rural polls has managed over 100 seats this time around.

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