The municipal elections have made the atmosphere here colourful, literally. Posters and banners of various parties now flipping in the wind, flex banners and huge hoardings greet you at all vantage points. The campaign has got steam.
After withdrawal of nominations ended on Thursday, political parties got down to the ground works with posting of coordinators in respective wards. The BJP has posted local coordinators in each ward. This was done after a meeting, chaired by Naresh Mohapatra, district party president on Thursday.
Mohapatra asked partymen to keep track of the campaign mode of other parties so as to counter and evolve new strategies. The present councillors, new councillor candidates and several party leaders were present at the meeting. The party has begun its work in all sincerity and is taking no chances. Former Rajya Sabha member and State vice-president Rudra Narayan Pany discussed launching of party campaign and voters contact programme with senior leaders and party candidates of all 23 wards. BJP had retained the council in the last election.
However, bickering has come into the open in the BJD camp. Dhenkanal BJD MLA Nabin Nanda said candidates were selected by ward residents on consensus except in three cases. Candidates have begun their campaign. The town is dotted with BJD hoardings and banners with photos of party supremo Naveen Patnaik, MP Tathagata Satpathy and MLA Nanda. For their part, the Congress candidates have also hit the campaign trail and are confident of a good show. Former Congress MLA Sudhi Kumar Samal has asked the candidates to do the ground work keeping in mind the forthcoming 2014 elections.
In the last civic elections, Congress had bagged eight seats out of 23 wards, BJP 11, BJD 3 and one seat had gone to SP. However, Congress formed the council by getting support of other candidates by splitting BJP as there was no consensus between BJP and BJD. Congress continued in power for two and a half years but lost in no-confidence motion which paved way for BJP. Later, BJP’s Monika Sharma became the Chairperson.
In this election, 118 candidates are in fray in 23 wards of municipality.
45 in Fray in Banpur
Banpur: After withdrawal of seven nominations on Thursday, 45 candidates are in left in the fray for 15 wards of Banpur Notified Area Council with BJD fielding 15 candidates, BJP 14, Congress 14 and two Independent candidates.
In Balugaon NAC, after withdrawal of two nominations, 44 candidates are in the fray. Of them, BJD has 11 candidates, BJP 10, Congress 10, CPI 2 and 11 Independent candidates.
Jolt to BJD in Berhampur
Berhampur: The ruling BJD received a jolt on Thursday. Party’s corporator candidate for Ward No-21 Minati Behera withdrew her nomination.
For 40 Wards of Berhampur Municipal Corporation, 157 contenders filed their nomination and on the last day of withdrawal, 14 candidates took back their papers. Of them, one is from BJD, two from BJP and the rest 11 are Independents, BMC sources said. After the withdrawal, a total of 143 contenders are left in the fray.
The Congress has fielded its candidates in 39 wards and supported one Independent. The BJD had fielded candidates for all the wards but after withdrawal by Minati, it has 39 candidates.
Nayagarh: The Congress has accused the police of siding with the ruling BJD and demanded transfer of an official for a ‘free and fair’ elections here.
DCC president Hemendra Chandra Singh in a petition to State Election Commission said the officer who happens to be close to local MLA and Energy Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo, has been brought here.
Singh claimed that the Congress candidate for Ward No 10 was kidnapped and brought to NAC office in Nayagarh in a BJD vehicle on August 27. He was then forced to withdraw her candidature. This, the petition alleged, was done with the local police in the loop.
The Congress workers were also terrorised by BJD hooligans, he charged. A copy of the petition was submitted to Collector Muralidhar Barik.