With violence continuing unabated across Odisha amid the ongoing Panchayat elections, the State Election Commission today asked the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to ensure free and fair polling in the remaining three phases.
"There are incidents of violence in the post-poll scenario at different places in the state, which is a matter of serious concern for the Commission," State Election Commissioner Rabinarayan Senapati wrote in a letter to both Chief Secretary A P Padhi and DGP K B Singh.
He said after counting of votes in the first phase of polling on February 13 in 65 blocks, incidents of violence have occurred at different places.
There were also allegations on the conduct of some government servants about getting themselves involved in political activities, Senapati said.
"I would therefore request you to take necessary steps to issue suitable instructions to the Superintendents of Police to prevent any incident of post-poll violence and to ensure safety and security of polling personnel as well as the general public, candidates and others," he said in the letter.
"Strict vigil, alertness and prompt action are needed to prevent occurrence of any such incidents in the next phases of election. Police officials shall be suitably instructed to maintain impartiality and neutrality in their conduct in order to ensure free and fair elections," the letter said.
In an incident in Ganjam district, one person was killed, two others injured and five vehicles were damaged yesterday in poll related violence. Sisir Nayak (38) of Belapada village in Pangidi panchayat was returning home on his motorbike when he and his pillion rider were attacked by supporters of his opposition group with stones.
Nayak was killed and his associate was critically wounded, the police said. In Balasore, former MLA and senior BJP leader Pratap Sarangi's car was attacked allegedly by his opponents in the Nilagiri block last night. The BJP leader has lodged a complaint with the police and held several BJD party workers responsible for the attack. Sarangi also staged a dharna in front of the police station demanding arrest of the BJD workers. In another incident, the vehicle of Polsara MLA Srikant Sahu was attacked in Bhanjanagar of Ganjam district when he was returning after attending a party meeting. One Santosh Bhola, husband of Bijayalaxmi, a Sarpanch candidate in Antarapada panchayat in the same district, was injured after his opponents attacked him with sharp weapons, the police said. A case was registered today against Feroze Khan, son of BJD's Kantabanjhi MLA Ayub Khan, and his supporters for allegedly attacking a BJP Zilla Parishad member candidate in Balangir district, the police said.