For the past week Maloya has seen intense campaigning by arch rivals Congress and BJP but on Tuesday the battle for the vote took an ugly turn when local BJP leader Mamchand Rana, along with a large group of supporters, sought out Congress leader Hemraj Sharma and allegedly threatened him.
Mamchand Rana is the husband of the late Lakshmi Devi. Lakshmi Devi was the MC councilor whose death necessitated the present Maloya by-election. Hemraj Sharma responded in kind. Only the intervention of cooler heads prevented the situation from turning violent. According to Sharma, Rana was provoked when 20 followers of the BJP left the BJP and joined the Congress.
On being informed of the confrontation, Maloya Police Post in charge Harjinder Singh and a police party rushed to the spot to ensure that the situation did not go out of hand.
Rana has denied that he started the fracas. According to Rana, on Monday evening Hemraj Sharma was speaking not far from his house and he heard the Congress leader speak ill of his late wife. On Tuesday morning, along with his brother, Rana went to Hemraj to warn him against slandering his late wife and to watch his language.
The Maloya voters go to the polls on September 15. Meanwhile this ward has become a tenderbox that could erupt in clashes at any time.
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