Ahead of the general elections, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) reaffirmed its hegemony by scoring a resounding victory in the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) election, results of which were declared on Thursday.
Basking in pro-incumbency wave, the BJD even surpassed its earlier record by winning 49 out of 67 wards. The party had won 40 wards in a council of 60 seats in 2008. Seven more seats were carved out after delimitation of the BMC area before this election.
While the BJD juggernaut continued to roll after sweeping the urban local body (ULB) polls held in two phases in 2013, the Opposition Congress and BJP once again bit the dust at the hustings.
The Congress has been virtually wiped off the Bhubaneswar electoral map. The grand old party could muster only two seats. The party had won in four wards in 2008 election by garnering 12.5 per cent of the popular votes.
Similar is the condition of the BJP which has managed to win only four seats, five down from the 2008 election when the party had secured a popular mandate of 23.6 per cent.
The Independent candidates queered the pitch by spoiling the chances of their rivals. Twelve Independent candidates, most of them BJD rebels, won the BMC polls by defeating the official candidates of the ruling party.
Prominent among the winners included former mayor Ananta Narayan Jena, former deputy mayor Bharati Singh and Amaresh Jena. Winning for the third time in a row, Ananta defeated his nearest rival Prakash Kanungo by a margin of 4,334 votes.
The former deputy mayor retained her seat by defeating Sabitri Majhi, an Independent candidate.
Amaresh Jena of the BJD garnered second highest number of votes by securing 4,126 votes in Ward No. 45. He defeated Sudhansu Kumar Mahunta of the BJP.
NGO activist and BJD candidate Linkan Subudhi faced a drubbing as she lost to Independent candidate Monalisha Sahu. Linkan hit the national headlines after a murderous attack on her in New Delhi while trying to save a minor girl from child marriage.
Monalisha is the wife of Manoj Sahu, who unsuccessfully contested the 2008 BMC elections as a ruling party candidate. She contested as an Independent after the BJD denied her a ticket.
Pritinanda Routray, daughter of Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout, was the other notable winner. She defeated Gitanjali Jena of BJP in Ward No. 6.