Odisha Elections 2024: Will Pre-Poll Violence Give Soumya Ranjan Patnaik An Edge In Ghasipura?

OB Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Ghasipura in Keonjhar district is witnessing a faceoff between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Khandapada MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik. Soumya Ranjan is an independent candidate for the Assembly elections from Ghasipura this time. His campaign vehicle was allegedly stopped by BJD workers, who reportedly indulged in hooliganism recently. Soumya has pointed accusing fingers not only as BJD candidate Badri Narayan Patra but also the police. Accusing the police of resorting to repressive measures, he has alleged that several of his supporters were arrested under pressure from Patra. Soumya also staged a dharna along with hundreds of his supporters in front of Ramachandrapur police station. The constituency was also rocked by violence and a supporter of Soumya was attacked and injured allegedly by a group close to Badri Patra.

BJD Hooliganism

The Assembly constituency of Ghasipura has become a hot topic for discussion following the entry of Soumya Ranjay into the poll fray. Sitting MLA Badri and Soumya have come face-to-face. Badri’s supporters allegedly indulged in hooliganism and stopped Soumya’s campaign vehicle recently. Besides waving BJD flags, they allegedly used abusive and threatening language against the independent candidate. Soumya alleged that the BJD workers have unleashed a reign of terror in the area, putting democratic norms in danger. Badri’s son Debasish Patra, however, dismissed the allegation and said that there was a jam as rallies of both the groups reached a narrow stretch at Kantarohi Chhak turning.

Partisan Role By Police!

Besides alleging hooliganism by Badri’s supporters, Soumya has also accused the police of playing a partisan role and resorting to repressive measures. He alleged that several of his supporters have been picked up by police at the instance of Badri. Eight of his supporters were allegedly arrested by the police and Soumya alleged that the police worked in favour of the ruling BJD. He even staged a dharna outside Ramachandrapur police station along with a large number of supporters as a mark of protest. He further alleged that BJD supporters who indulged in violence were allowed to go scot-free as police protected the ruling party workers. On the other hand, his supporters are being targeted and harassed deliberately, he claimed.

Soumya is reaching out to the people by promising to take concrete steps to wipe out corruption and crime in the area. However, no one knows whether the voters will repose their trust in him.

Support From Rebels!

It is being discussed that disgruntled elements of all the three major political partiers are extending support to Soumya Ranjan. If rebel leaders of these parties join hands with Soumya, the political configuration is likely to witness a change in the upcoming polls in the Assembly segment. As Badri Patra has been on a backfoot amid allegation of hooliganism and criminal activities, people may consider Soumya a right choice. While Badri has been fielded by BJD, Congress has nominated Subrat Chakra and BJP Sambhunath Rout. Political observers are of the view that it will be a straight fight between Badri and Soumya in Ghasipura.

OB Bureau

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