SAMBALPUR: Steps are afoot for the panchayat polls in Sambalpur district that will be held in five phases from February 11.
The district, which has nine bocks, will elect 19 Zilla Parishad members, 148 Samiti members and sarpanchs and 1,874 ward members. As many as 5,16,206 voters will exercise their franchise.
All the nine block chairperson posts are reserved. The post of chairperson of Jujumura block is reserved for women.
The blocks of Jamankira and Bamra are reserved for ST (women), Maneswar block is reserved for SC (woman), Rengali block for OBC (woman), Kuchinda and Naktideul are reserved for ST, Dhankuada for SC (woman), while Rairakhol block is reserved for OBCs.
In the 19-member Zilla Parishad, Congress is in majority with 16 seats, BJP has two members while the BJD has just one. Similarly, the Congress and the BJP are in power in four blocks each while the BJD is in power in the Naktideul block.
Although the Congress and BJP are likely to have an edge, the BSP which has gradually made inroads into the Congress vote bank is likely to upset the Congress plan.
However, the split in non-Congress votes will help the Congress make up for the loss even as the BJD is expected to put up a better performance with its district leadership working hard to establish its supremacy.