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Padampur Bypoll: BJD Accuses BJP of ‘Importing’ Poll-violence Culture from UP, Bihar

With several alleged incidents of violence being reported in bypoll-bound Padampur assembly seat in Odisha, the BJD on Tuesday charged the BJP with “importing” the culture of poll violence from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, while the saffron camp accused the ruling party of attacking its activists.

The BJP lodged a complaint with Jharbandh Police Station accusing a BJD legislator of “kidnapping” a saffron party activist at gun-point, while the ruling party dismissed the charge and claimed he was not abducted.

BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra claimed that the BJP leader, Dilip Senapati, and others were distributing money in Gothuguda panchayat in Padampur on Monday evening and when villagers tried to catch them, they ran away and cooked up the story to cover up their illegal activity.

He claimed that Senapati admitted before the police that he was not abducted.

BJP candidate for the December 5 bypoll, Pradip Purohit, visited Senapati at a hospital, where he has been admitted after being injured in the incident, met Bargarh Superintendent of Police Parmar Smit Parshottamdas and lodged a police complaint over the incident.

“I urged the SP to work in a neutral manner to ensure smooth conduct of the bypolls,” he said.

On the other hand, a BJP delegation led by chief whip Mohan Majhi met Director General of Police S K Bansal and demanded the SP’s transfer, alleging he was working on behalf of the ruling party.

Meanwhile, BJD has also accused BJP leaders, including Sundergarh MLA Kusum Tete, of being involved in an “attack” on GST officials during a raid on some establishments in Padampur early during the day.

Patra alleged that around 2 am, Tete along with around 100 party workers stormed the house of businessman Govardhan Agarwal when GST raid was underway and obstructed in the administrative and legal process.

An FIR has been lodged against Tete and others by Ashish Kumar Dash, an official of the Jharsuguda State Tax Officer (CT and GST Enforcement Unit).

Accusing the BJP of “importing poll-violence culture from UP and Bihar”, the BJD in a petition to the state chief electoral officer, demanded by four BJP leaders — Thakur Ranjit Das, Pinky Pradhan, Kalindi Samal and Tete – be prohibited from campaigning in the constituency.

Reacting to the demand, Leader of Opposition Jaynaran Mishra of BJP said, “The BJD has demanded that I too be banned from campaigning in Padampur. They are making such demands so that they can easily carry out illegal activities.” He claimed that BJP does not indulge in violence but prevents BJD from carrying out “illegal activities”.

The tension between the two political parties escalated after back-to-back Income Tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST) raids in Padampur.

While both the parties are levelling allegations against each other, the Congress said innocent people and small-time traders are suffering due to vendetta politics.

“Everybody knows that BJD is using GST officials and BJP used I-T to settle scores against each other by conducting raids on businessmen supporting rival parties, but innocent traders are suffering in the process,” Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati said.

Both the BJD and the BJP have claimed that the raids have nothing to do with bypoll or politics.

Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, AICC general secretary in-charge of Odisha, A Chella Kumar and several Odisha ministers campaigned during the day in favour of their respective party candidates.

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