Pre-election violence in Odisha’s Ganjam district leaves one dead

Odisha’s Chief Electoral Officer Nikunja Behari Dhal directs Ganjam collector, SP to ensure peace and normalcy in the district

Updated - May 16, 2024 10:25 pm IST

Published - May 16, 2024 11:10 am IST - BHUBANESWAR

A scene at a polling booth during the elections on May 14, 2024, in Ganjam. File photo

A scene at a polling booth during the elections on May 14, 2024, in Ganjam. File photo | Photo Credit: ANI

Days after Bharatiya Janta Party’s Berhampur Lok Sabha candidate, Pradeep Panigrahy, was brutally attacked in the presence of police, a BJP worker was allegedly hacked to death, triggering massive tension in the Khalikote area of Ganjam district.

In a group clash between Biju Janata Dal and BJP workers in Khalikote, seven others had also sustained injuries. The clash began when BJD workers attacked Dilip Pahan and co-BJP workers when they were pasting posters at Krushna Saranpur village on Monday night.

Khalikote Assembly constituency, which comes under Ganjam — Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s home district, is going to poll on May 20. Eight persons involved in violence were arrested by police.

In a separate incident, members of a family came under attack from BJD workers after they allegedly voted for BJP in Gopalpur constituency in Ganjam district during first phase elections. A complaint has been lodged Golanthara police station in this regard.

“I am deeply disturbed and saddened at the very unfortunate and tragic incident of violence in Khallikote area. Such incidents of violence have no place in our democracy and civil society,” said Mr. Patnaik in a message. 

Condemning the incident, the Odisha CM said, “My deepest condolence to the family who has lost their loved one and praying for early recovery of those who sustained injuries. I am sure police will take strong and exemplary action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime.”

Union Education Minister and BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan also took to social media platforms saying, “Violence has no place in democracy. People will give a befitting reply to them during the ensuing voting on May 20, 25 and June 1.”

Expressing deep concerns over spate of violence in Ganjam, Chief Electoral Officer Nikunja Behari Dhal directed Ganjam District Collector and Superintendent of Police to control pre-election violence and bring peace in the locality.

“Any kind of violence will not be tolerated in the State. Election Commission of India has taken zero tolerance policy with regards to violence,” said Mr. Dhal.

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