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BJP worker killed, 7 others injured in clash with BJD supporters

A BJP worker was killed and seven others were injured in a clash between supporters of the ruling BJD and the saffron party in Odisha's Ganjam district, police said on Thursday.

The incident took place in Sri Krushna Saranapur village in Khallikote police station area on Wednesday night over putting up posters for poll campaigning.

The deceased has been identified as Dilip Kumar Pahana (28), who was a resident of the village. He succumbed to injuries during treatment at MKCG Medical College and Hospital here, a police officer said.

According to preliminary investigation, the clash occurred over putting up posters of a candidate and both sides used sharp weapons in the fight, he said, adding the injured persons are undergoing treatment at the state-run hospital and their condition is stated to be stable.

Irate BJP workers allegedly vandalised several vehicles parked near the house of Khallikote assembly seat's BJD candidate and sitting MLA Suryamani Baidya and blocked the road near the police station.

They also demanded the arrest of the MLA and her husband Daitary Behera.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condemned the incident and extended condolences to the deceased's family.

"Deeply disturbed and saddened at the very unfortunate and tragic incident of violence in Khallikote area. Such incidents of violence have no place in our democracy and civil society. I strongly condemn this incident.

"My deepest condolence to the family members who have lost their loved one and I pray for early recovery of those who sustained injuries. I am sure police will take strong and exemplary action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime," Patnaik said in a post on X.

BJP president J P Nadda, who undertook a roadshow in Bhubaneswar, also expressed concerns over the clash and said such incidents should not happen.

While Baidya is seeking re-election from the seat, the BJP has nominated Purna Chandra Sethi, a former MLA, in the constituency. Simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls to SC-reserved Khallikote, which falls under Aska parliamentary constituency, will be held on May 20.

Meanwhile, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nikunja Bihari Dhal expressed concern over the incident and asked the district collector and the superintendent of police to restore peace immediately and said all measures must be taken to prevent poll violence.

A large police contingent has been deployed in the village to control the situation.

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