BMC standing committee polls expose rift in BJD

Corporator Amaresh Jena said the contest between two BJD corporators reflected the internal differences in the party.
BJD flag used for representational purposes only.
BJD flag used for representational purposes only.

BHUBANESWAR: The rift in BJD’s city unit was out in the open on Friday after two corporators of the party contested against each other for the post of standing committee chairperson of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

Elections were held to seven posts of standing committee chairperson. While candidates were elected unopposed to six posts, a close contest was seen between Ward no 59 corporator Biranchi Narayan Mahasupakar and his counterpart of Ward no 43 Bharat Kumar Lenka for the post of chairman of standing committee on Public Health, Sanitation, Electricity, Drainage and Environment. Mahasupakar won the election by a margin of one vote.

The fight exposed the rift between leaders of the regional party that lost to BJP in the recently-concluded Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Party insiders said corporators of BJD, that has a majority in the Corporation, were being elected to these standing committee chairperson posts on the basis of consensus. For the first time, a contest was seen between two BJD corporators for a post.

Mahasupakar said the candidate who fought against him is likely to have been fielded by some party leader to defeat him.

Corporator Amaresh Jena said the contest between two BJD corporators reflected the internal differences in the party. There shouldn’t have been any election between two party candidates. The party leadership should look into it.

Jena further alleged that after resigning from the chairperson post of standing committee on Public Works, he decided not to contest again because of the conspiracy hatched by some leaders to defeat him in elections.

Notably, both Mahasupakar and Jena were vying for tickets to contest as BJD candidates from Ekamra Bhubaneswar and Bhubaneswar Central Assembly seats respectively.

While BJD candidate Ashok Panda lost to BJP’s Babu Singh in the Ekamra seat this time, party candidate Ananta Narayan Jena won from Bhubaneswar Central by just 37 votes.

Meanwhile, BJD sources said corporator Preetinanda Routray also didn’t contest in the standing committee elections after coming to know about an alleged conspiracy hatched by a BJD faction to defeat her.

However, mayor Sulochana Das ruled out any rift in the party and said the election reflects a healthy democratic set up that exists in the BMC. “Had the elections not been held, it would have sent a wrong message to the public and set a wrong precedence,” she added.

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