Karnataka figures prominently in BJD-BJP verbal battle

Karnataka figures prominently in BJD-BJP verbal battle

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. File Photo for representation

An intense election eve verbal battle is currently on in Odisha between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the BJP over a document that had reportedly been sent by the intelligence wing of the state police to the Naveen Patnaik administration suggesting that the four-time chief minister is needed to contest the coming assembly polls from two seats as it may be unsafe for him to fight only from his traditional constituency of Hinjli in Ganjam district.

Interestingly, the name of Karnataka figured prominently in this war of words. Both the parties have already moved the Election Commission(EC) on the issue.

It all started last Monday when Patnaik announced that he would be contesting from two seats this time – his traditional Hinjli as well as Bijepur in western Odisha – while releasing the list of party nominees for first two phases of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the state.

Soon after, the state BJP leaders came out with a statement insisting that the chief minister decided to contest from two seats as he was unsure of winning from Hinjli this time. In this context, they released a letter to the press claiming it to be a report from the state intelligence which suggested five alternative constituencies for Patnaik including Bijepur.

The BJD then hit back claiming that the letter released by BJP was a forged and fabricated one. Party leaders alleged that a similar letter was used by the saffron party during the last assembly elections in Karnataka. “BJP forged that document and maliciously used it here just to defame the chief minister on the election eve. The letter released here and the one used in Karnataka have striking resemblance”, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said.

The BJP leaders rejected BJD’s claim and demanded a probe either by the CBI or the NIA to ascertain the authenticity of the “intelligence report”.

Meanwhile, the Bhubaneswar police have begun an investigation into the entire episode. The probe has been launched on the basis of an FIR registered by the SP, Special Branch in one of the police stations in the city.