The Odisha Police on Saturday detained Bharatiya Janata Party’s Khurda Assembly candidate Prasanta Jagadev for allegedly vandalising an Electronic Voting Machine, The Indian Express reported.

The incident interrupted the polling in the sixth phase of the Assembly elections. State elections and Lok Sabha polls are taking place simultaneously in Odisha.

Jagadev and his supporters had gone to a polling booth at Kuanripatna in the adjacent Begunia Assembly constituency on Saturday afternoon where he had an argument with an election official, according to The Indian Express.

Following this, Jagadev allegedly vandalised the Electronic Voting Machine, before leaving the polling station, the newspaper reported. The police intercepted his vehicle.

However, Jagadev has denied the allegations and claimed that the voting machine got damaged after it accidentally fell on the ground, The Indian Express reported.

He staged a protest inside the police station where he was detained, alleging that he was being framed. He demanded that the footage of the security camera inside the polling booth be examined.

The newspaper quoted Odisha’s Chief Electoral Officer Nikunja Bihari Dhal as saying that the matter will be investigated and action will be taken against those responsible.

“The control unit of the EVM was damaged in the incident following which we have changed it,” Dhal said on Saturday. “Voting is continuing in the booth.”

Jagadev is the sitting MLA from Chilika, which he had won in 2019 on a Biju Janata Dal ticket. He had also won the Begunia seat for the Biju Janata Dal in 2014.

He was suspended from Odisha’s ruling party for allegedly beating up a BJP leader in 2021. In March 2022, Jagadev was assaulted by a mob after his vehicle allegedly ran over and injured at least 22 people in the Khurda district.

He joined the BJP in March.

The Biju Janata Dal has complained to the Election Commission, demanding the immediate arrest of Jagadev, Pragativadi reported.

The Biju Janata Dal has held the Khurda seat since 2014.