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Panchayat pre-poll violence toll mounts to two in Odisha




 The toll in the pre-panchayat poll violence in Odisha has mounted to two with death of a Congress activist in Malkangiri district, the police said today.

The Congress activist identified as Sapan Babli (60), a resident of MV-8 in Tamasa gram panchayat jurisdiction under Malkangiri block, succumbed to injury at the district headquarters hospital at Malkangiri.

According to the complaint lodged by family members of the deceased at Malkangiri police station, Sapan was whisked away by a group of BJD supporters while he was campaigning for Congress on Monday evening. The family members named three BJD activists in the FIR.

Babali was dropped at his house in a critical condition at around midnight on the night.

His family members rushed Babali to the district headquarters hospital at Malkangiri on Tuesday where he died last night.

Malkangiri police station IIC Ranjan Kumar Das said that the police has registered a case and will take action after getting the postmortem report.

Babali's death came three days after the killing of BJP activist Salman Rout at Tarava village in Dhenkanal district during pre-poll violence for which one person has been arrested and two others detained.

Meanwhile, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan demanded a CBI probe into Rout's killing even as the State Election Commission recommended a crime branch probe into the murder.

Pradhan who met the bereaved family of Rout today said an impartial probe cannot be done by the crime branch of Odisha police.

“If the State government is really interested in a fair inquiry, it should hand over the probe to CBI immediately. Giving protection to the accused is the prime work of state crime branch. Such an agency can’t conduct a transparent investigation”, Pradhan told newsmen after meeting relatives of the deceased.

BJP state unit vice president Samir Mohanty demanded at a press conference here that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should issue a statement on the Tarava incident.

Mohanty said that Rout was killed for pasting BJP posters and it is shocking that the Chief Minister has not issued any statement even after five days of the incident.

He said the law and order situation has collapsed completely in the State during the panchayat poll and Dhenkanal district administration provided security indirectly to killer Byomkesh Biswal by imposing prohibitory orders in the village.

A delegation of the party today met the State Election Commission and submitted a memorandum demanding a list of candidates with their tally of votes polled.

The delegation rubbished the pretext that hard copies were not being furnished due to want of paper and said this will help the ruling party in destroying evidences later.

The delegation also alleged that despite a ban, certain development works were on in several areas without work orders while NFSA beneficiaries have been deprived of their quota of ration on the ground of the ban order.  

The panchayat polls in Odisha will be held in five phases on February 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21 respectively.






Editorial

Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.

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