Tensions run high as BJD factions resent bypoll cancellation in Ganjam’s Digapahandi

Digapahandi Assembly segment is considered to be a stronghold of BJD with Surjya winning from the seat since its formation.

Published: 01st September 2023 09:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2023 09:32 AM   |  A+A-

BJD workers staging road blockade at Digapahandi on Thursday | Express

By Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: Tension ran high in Ganjam’s Digapahandi as supporters of two groups of BJD tried to forcefully enter the block office after the cancellation of the by-election to chairperson post on Thursday. Sources said voting for Digapahandi block chairperson post was scheduled to be held on the day. However, voting was cancelled at the last minute after the State Election Commission (SEC) deferred the by-election till further order. The SEC directive came following a letter from the Ganjam collector who apprehended law and order situation during the bypoll.

Protesting the last-minute cancellation of the bypoll, two factions of the ruling party tried to barge into the block office and later resorted to road blockade. Subsequently, the administration stationed police personnel at vulnerable places. A platoon of armed police force led by three inspectors were deployed in Digapahandi town.

The bypoll for the block chairperson post has assumed importance as the general election is round the corner. Sources said two groups in the local BJD unit have been eyeing to pocket the coveted post after the death of Digapahandi block chairperson Sunita Sethi two months back.

While one group is led by incumbent MLA Surjya Narayan Patro’ son Biplab, the other is headed by former Digapahandi block chairperson Bipin Pradhan who is also a close aide of the local legislator.Biplab and Bipin have been pulling out all stops to bag the block chairperson post amid speculations that the one who emerges victorious will get the MLA ticket in the upcoming general elections as existing legislator Surjya is ailing for quite some time now.

Digapahandi Assembly segment is considered to be a stronghold of BJD with Surjya winning from the seat since its formation. While there are 25 panchayats in Digapahandi block, 14 samiti members are from Bipin’s village Bomokai. But Biplab’s supporters claim they have absolute majority.

Digapahandi has witnessed a violent tussle between the two BJD factions since the last panchayat elections. At least six BJD supporters have been murdered in the segment due to the fight between the two groups.

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