The police on Thursday arrested senior BJP leader and former minister, Jayanarayan Mishra, for his alleged involvement in the ghastly attack on BJD activists during the election campaign for Bijepur bypoll in which one Dileswar Sahu had died on 22 February.

The state BJP cried foul and party president Basant Panda announced a statewide satyagraha. The police has become an agent of the ruling BJD, he alleged.

The youth wing of the BJP promptly staged a demonstration in front of the deputy commissioner of police at Bhubaneswar. Dileswar was a ruling BJD worker and was driving the vehicle in which BJD Minister Susant Singh’s brother Subrat Singh was seated.

The attack left four persons including Subrat Singh injured while Dileswar died. Seven persons were arrested in connection with the murderous attack and on Thursday the police arrested the BJP heavyweight Jayanarayan Mishra from his residence at Sambalpur.

Police forwarded him to court in Sohela and the magistrate rejected his bail petition. He was remanded to judicial custody for 14 days. Police also arrested another associate of Mishra, Sib Kumar Diwan, a young advocate.

The case has been registered under sections 147, 148, 294, 302, 307, 323, 325, 336, 427, and 506 of IPC and 25 Arms Act. The FIR lodged in the case in February had named Mishra.

Thursday morning a team of police officers from Bargarh district led by SDPO Laxmi Narayan Panda came to Sambalpur and conducted the arrest amidst tight security.

Massive police forces were also deployed looking at the probable law and order situation both in Sambalpur and Bargarh. Mishra’s supporters also gathered near his residence at Nandapara to protest the arrest.

However, police with no difficulty picked up him since they were well prepared with armed forces to meet any situation. It may be noted here that Mishra had won the Sambalpur assembly seat thrice in a row before he lost out in 2014 to the BJD candidate Ms Raseswari Panigrahi.

Police sources said there was enough evidence to book Mishra. Investigations since the incident of 22 February had been conducted, some of the arrested accused interrogated and only subsequently Mishra was picked up on Thursday, they said.

Mishra told reporters that it was a case of political vendetta. He pleaded innocence and demanded a CBI probe into the case. BJD Minister Susant Singh said from day one people knew that Mishra was present at the spot during the attack.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik , when asked to react to BJP allegations of vendetta politics, said the “ law will take its own course, irrespective of what is said”.