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Berhampur LS seat BJP candidate injured in scuffle with assembly constituency Independent nominee

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Bhubaneswar/Berhampur, May 14 (PTI) BJP's Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency candidate Pradeep Panigrahy was injured in a scuffle with an Independent nominee from the eponymous assembly constituency after the conclusion of polling on Monday, police said.

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Panigrahy sustained injuries on his right shoulder and complained of chest pain, following which he was admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur and later shifted to AIIMS, Bhubaneswar on Tuesday for better treatment.

Police on Tuesday arrested former mayor of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) Siva Shankar Dash, who is contesting as an Independent candidate in Berhampur assembly segment for allegedly assaulting Panigrahy, near a polling booth in the city on Monday evening.

Dash, 50 was arrested under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC, after a case was registered against him in Gosaninuagaon police station. The case was registered against him after Panigrahy lodged a complaint, said SP (Berhampur) Sarthak Sarangi.

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Das's wife Asha Kumari Das has also lodged a counter FIR on Tuesday alleging that her husband was also attacked by the BJP supporters, said police.

The incident took place on Monday evening after polling was completed when Panigrahy went to a polling station in Gosani Nuagaon area to check whether EVMs were being properly sealed before being taken to the strong room.

Das reached the spot along with his supporters and a heated argument ensued between him and Panigrahy, following which a scuffle broke out during which Das allegedly shoved and punched Panigrahy, a police officer said.

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A police team headed by Gosani Nuagaon inspector-in-charge Smrutirekha Pradhan reached the spot and brought the situation under control.

Supporters of Das staged a sit-in in front of the police station where Das was held, demanding his release. "We tried to convince the agitators. But they did not listen and continued their protest," SP said, adding that they left the place after the arrival of additional force at the police station." An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of police sustained injuries when the protesters allegedly pelted stones, he said Sources said that Das was seeking a BJP ticket from the Berhampur assembly segment but was allegedly denied by Panigrahy.

Das had earlier unsuccessful contested two times from the Assembly constituency in BJP ticket and as an Independent. As many as 35 criminal cases were pending against him, as per his affidavits filed during his nomination before the returning officer.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJD moved the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer, alleging that its three supporters were attacked by some BJP workers in Ganjam district during the poll process. Simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are being held in Odisha. PTI COR AAM ACD AAM RG

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