BJD sweeps zilla polls

Continuing with its enviable record of electoral triumphs, the ruling BJD has swept the  Zilla Parishad (ZP) polls, winning 651 out of the 851 seats for which the  State Election Commission announced results on Thursday. In the 2007 panchayat polls, the ruling party had won 345 seats.

The Opposition  Congress finished a distant second with 128 ZP seats, while BJP ended with a paltry 36 seats, state election commissioner Ajit Tripathy said. The election body declared results of 851 out of the 854 ZP seats for which polls were held. Three ZP zones in Kashipur area of Rayagada have fallen vacant as nobody came forward to contest the polls, supporting a demand by the local Jhodia community for Scheduled Tribe status. In the three-tier panchayat elections, political party symbols are used only for the ZP seats.

Because of its overwhelming victory, the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD is comfortably placed to head ZPs in 26 districts, a massive jump considering that it had presidents in 15 ZPs five years ago. BJD would lead the ZPs in Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Boudh, Balangir, Cuttack, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kalahandi, Kendrapada, Keonjhar, Khurda, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Puri, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur and Sundergarh.

The Congress’ performance fell sharply, leaving it with only 128 seats as against 303 won in 2007. So the state’s main Opposition party will lead the ZP in only one district, Jharsuguda. With 14 members, it is tied with BJD in Koraput with a lone Independent holding the key. Similarly, in Kandhamal and Gajapati districts no party has got a clear majority. While Congress with nine ZP members is ahead of BJD (six) and BJP (three) in Kandhamal, the BJD with seven seats is the single largest party in Gajapati, ahead of Congress (four) and BJP (three), SEC said.

The BJP, which led the ZPs in Bargarh and Deogarh in 2007 courtesy its alliance with BJD, has suffered significant reverses with its tally dropping from 129 five years ago to only 36. The JMM has won 11 seats, comprising 10 in Mayurbhanj and one in Sundergarh, while CPI and CPM have emerged  victorious in two and one ZP seat respectively, the SEC said. The Left success has come in Ganjam district. Independents have triumphed in 22 zones.

BLURB: While the BJD has won 651 seats, Cong has bagged 128 and BJP only 36.

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