BJP workers clash in party chief Manmohan Samal's presence

The incident occurred during the ‘Mo Mati Mo Desha’ programme organised by the BJP in the presence of the party’s state president Manmohan Samal. 
Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal. (File photo)
Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal. (File photo)

BALANGIR: Chaos ruled during a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally near Balangir’s RTO Chowk as two groups within the party engaged in a fight.

The incident occurred during the ‘Mo Mati Mo Desha’ programme organised by the BJP in the presence of the party’s state president Manmohan Samal. 

As per reports, party leader Gopalji Panigrahi and his supporters were welcoming the rally led by Samal at Bijakhaman Chowk as they were entering Balangir from Titilagarh when two other members Balaram Singh Jadav and former MLA candidate from Balangir Ananta Dash, along with their supporters wanted to greet the rallyists.

When Dash attempted to approach the rally vehicle to present the president with a bouquet, Panigrahi reportedly prevented him from doing so. This led to an altercation between the two leaders and their supporters resulting in a clash.  While some people were reportedly injured in the clash, Dash’s clothes were torn apart in the melee. Dash had contested from Balangir constituency for the post of MLA in the previous elections.

Balangir MP Sangeeta Kumari Singhdeo and BJP district president Sibaji Mohanty were also a part of the rally. Soon after the incident, Panigrahi filed an FIR at the town police station. Sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Tofan Bag confirmed the incident to have taken place during the rally. “An FIR has been registered in the police station. Some protesters have sustained minor injuries.”

However, in response, Samal downplayed the incident and said nothing untoward happened during the rally. Mohanty too asserted that the rally proceeded without any hassles. Earlier, in Titilagarh, Samal paid his respects at the statue of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Dash. He also collected soil from the residence of Thabira Budek in Gurumuni village of Saintala block. Budek had sacrificed his life for the nation. In the evening, Samal also attended another programme in Atgaon village.

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