Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Feb 11:

The members of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today almost came to blows in Odisha’s Pilgrim town for allegedly coercing the voters to exercise their franchise in favour of the ruling party’s candidates.

It was alleged that City BJD president Sabyasachi Mohapatra was forcing the local people to vote for his party’s candidates contesting in panchayat polls. Mohapatra allegedly presided over a gathering at Sai Mandap near Atharanala here where he forced people to swear by ‘Mahaprasad’ of Lord Jagannath to cast votes in BJD’s favour.

Ajay Krushna Das, a BJP worker, came to know about Mohapatra having a meeting with local women at the mandap and forcing them to vote for BJD supported Zilla Parishad and sarpanch candidates. Das along with his other party members reached the spot and protested against the BJD leader’s act.

Kumbharpada police reached the spot after tension prevailed in the area. However, the saffron party members alleged that police bolted the mandap after which mahaprasad was served to the women present inside it.