NUAPADA: In a major setback to its expansion plans in Odisha, the BJP suffered a humiliating defeat in elections to Komna Zilla Parishad (ZP) Zone II seat on the home turf of party’s State president Basanta Panda on Thursday.
BJD’s candidate Ramnaresh Ahir trounced BJP candidate Phuleswar Sabar by a margin of 10,423 votes in the polls, the results of which were declared on the day. While Ahir bagged 15,134 votes, Sabar managed to get only 4,711 votes and came a distant third. Congress candidate Bhakatram Sabar secured the second place by bagging 7,068 votes.
With the outcome, the BJD now has nine nominees while the Congress has five members. The BJP has failed to open its account in the ZP Council.
Voters’ sentiment against Panda for his continuous neglect to his Assembly segment Nuapada and failure to highlight the plight of the people is being seen as the reason behind the BJP’s dismal show.
Sources said prolonged absence of MLA Panda from Nuapada isolated him from the voters. His preoccupation first as Leader of Opposition and later as State BJP president forced Panda to stay away from his home turf which went against him.
The success of the BJD was not confined to Komna Zone II seat only. The ruling party-sponsored Sarpanch candidate from Kurumpuri gram panchayat Tileswari Ahir, who is daughter-in-law of Ramnaresh Ahir, came out victorious in the polls by defeating BJP-backed Manju Gupta. Manju’s husband was accused of murderous attack on Ramnaresh Ahir and his son a few days ago.
On the other hand, the results gave the Congress some reasons to celebrate. Without the presence of the party’s star campaigner and former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das and required funds to fight the polls, the Congress managed to secure second place.
BYJD working president Sanjit Mohanty thanked the voters for reposing their confidence in Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik. Hitting out at the BJP, he said people have now realised that the national party is fleecing them. District BJP president Siba Prasad Mund said money power and presence of Ministers tilted public support in favour of the BJD.