A Biju Janata Dal MLA and his supporters allegedly brutally attacked a team of 15 Election Commission officials who were conducting a raid on his farmhouse in Odisha’s Puri district on Sunday. Pradeep Maharathy, the Biju Janata Dal’s candidate for the Pipili Assembly constituency, and his supporters injured five polling officials, the Odisha Sun Times reported.
The team had gone to the farmhouse after receiving information about distribution of cash and liquor, the Hindustan Times reported. “While we were keeping a watch outside the former minister’s farmhouse at Hunkeipur village, Maharathy suddenly arrived at the spot and started chasing us,” Executive Magistrate Rabi Narayan Patra told the daily. Patra was reportedly beaten severely and is now recovering at Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar. “His workers attacked us with bamboo sticks.”
Patra said the polling officials, who were bleeding profusely, fled the spot in one of their vehicles. They left another vehicle at the farmhouse. “Had we stayed any longer, we would have been killed,” Patra said.
“Binay Kumar Das and driver Deepak, who accompanied the team, were injured in the attack,” Patra told Odisha Television, identifying two of the other four injured. “I have received injuries on the waist and I am unable to walk.” The accused allegedly also attacked the cameraman and took his camera.
Puri Superintendent of Police Umashankar Dash said a first information report has been registered in the incident. “We are still trying to verify if Maharathy himself was there on the spot or not during the incident,” he added.
Polling for the Pipili Assembly constituency will be held on Tuesday, along with 42 other seats. The elections for Odisha’s 21 Lok Sabha seats and 147 Assembly constituencies are being held simultaneously in four phases. The results will be declared on May 23.