With nomination process for urban local body (ULB) polls getting completed, the BJD and the Congress seem to be beset by problem of rebel candidates, prompting their leaderships to despatch MLAs and senior leaders to key areas.
While the BJD is grappling with the problem of rebels in every constituency, for Congress leadership, a new problem has cropped up after the withdrawal of official candidates of the party at several places.
Five Congress candidates withdrew their nomination papers in Jajpur municipality giving a walkover to the BJD. There have also been reports of withdrawal of Congress candidates from Jeypore, Nayagarh, Nimapara and several other ULBs. Surprisingly, Congress candidates did not file their nomination papers in Chikiti notified area council (NAC).
According to the State Election Commission (SEC), 36 candidates have been elected uncontested, which includes 10 in Hinjilikatu, nine in Chikiti and five in Jajpur. All these uncontested candidates are from the BJD while there is only one uncontested Congress candidate from Boudh.
The Congress has alleged that the BJD is trying to influence the polls by using money and muscle power. In a statement, OPCC president Jaydev Jena alleged that BJD goons attacked nine Congress candidates while they were on their way to file nomination papers at Chikiti and snatched away their papers.
Jena said the BJD leaders of Jajpur paid lakhs to the Congress candidates to withdraw their nomination papers. If such activities of the BJD continued, it will be difficult to expect a free and fair poll, he said and demanded a probe.
Jena also constituted a committee to inquire into the attack on the son of a Congress candidate of Ward No. 1 at Puri. The committee comprises Gurupada Nanda, Sibananda Ray, Batakrushna Tripathy and Narendra Kumar Mishra. Jena said the committee has been asked to submit its report on Saturday.