BJD eyes big win in Western Odisha ULB polls - The New Indian Express

BJD eyes big win in Western Odisha ULB polls

Published: 22nd November 2013 09:13 AM

Last Updated: 22nd November 2013 09:13 AM

After winning an overwhelming majority in civic body polls to coastal and southern Odisha in September, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is eyeing a big win in the urban local body (ULB) polls in Western Odisha on Friday.

The BJD is in a difficult situation in the polls over the demand of a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in the region. Besides, both the Opposition political parties, the Congress and the BJP, have stronger base in the area.

Though a number of ministers and senior leaders of the BJD camped in the area to carry on campaign for the party, the regional outfit banked on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik heavily as was evident from the hectic schedule of the party chief.

Besides, the BJD also engaged stars, Ollywood superstar Anubhav Mohanty, actor-turned-party MP Siddhanta Mohapatra and popular comedian Papu Pom Pom to sway the voters.

The situation has changed drastically since 2008 when the last ULB polls was held when the BJD and BJP were alliance partners.

The polls will also be a test for the present Congress leadership in the State after its failure in September polls where the party could secure only 11 civic bodies against 49 by the BJD. Despite having a comfortable ground situation, the Congress camp does not seem optimistic.

The campaign of the party was mostly one- man show of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Jaydev Jena. No other senior leaders, including the only minister from Odisha Srikant Jena, campaigned for the party.

Four out of six MPs of Congress in the State and a majority of MLAs are from Western Odisha. However, none of the leaders was visible during the campaigning in the area.

The BJP, which had put up a dismal show in the first phase polls, expects to regain lost ground in the polls. In the 2008 polls, the BJP had formed councils in seven civic bodies and expects to at least retain those ULBs in the polls on Friday.

Polls will be held in 560 booths from 8 am to 5 pm. According to State Election Commission (SEC) sources, 4,92,932 voters will cast their votes.

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