SAMBALPUR: The first phase of panchayat elections suggests an end of BJD dominance across Western Odisha. Unofficial figures indicate that the BJP is racing ahead and is set to wipe out BJD and Congress from the region.
In Kalahandi district, the election was held in nine Zilla Parishad (ZP)seats, three each in Koksara, Dharamgarh and Jaipatna. With the BJP is clearly heading for a landslide win in all the nine ZP zones, the prestige of Urban Development and Housing Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo and Lanjigarh MLA and Chairman of District Planning Board Balabhadra Majhi are at stake. While Dharamgarh registered 85 per cent turnout, the other two saw 78.33 per cent turnout.
The result is encouraging for BJD in Nuapada district where villagers exercised their franchise for Komna-1 and Komna-3 after Orissa High Court directed to stay election in Komna-2 over the formation of new gram panchayat. In both the zones, BJD is comfortably placed despite its close proximity to Chhattisgarh and close cultural and lingual affinity where the BJP is in power.
In Balangir district, there is no good news for the Congress, which is being led by Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra. Both Congress and BJD are behind the BJP which is making inroads into BJD bastion. Nearly 60 per cent polling was recorded in seven ZP seats, two each in Agalpur and Loisingha blocks and Puintala block in Balangir district. The mandate is clearly in favour of the BJP in three ZPs while it is ahead of rest four. Many electorates here had to return without voting as their names did not figure in the electoral rolls.
Sonepur district registered 84.3 per cent turnout for the two ZP zones of Tarbha block. Available trends hint at BJD maintaining supremacy in both the zones. District BJD president Saroj Kampa was also in the fray and is the BJD nominee from Zone I. The result is expected on the elevation of Sonepur MLA and Assembly Speaker Niranjan Pujari, who led the party from behind.
There has been a repeat of performance by the BJD in the district in three ZPs in Kantamal block with 76 per cent voters turning up to exercise their franchise. Sources said BJD is ahead in all the zones of Kantamal-1, 2 and 3.
In Jharsuguda, Congress MLA Naba Kisore Das turned the tide and mood of the voters in his favour yet again with the party candidates ahead in two out of three zones in Lakhanpur block. Interestingly, the block which recorded 79 per cent polling is represented by BJP MLA Radharani Panda and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh had addressed a public meeting.
In Bargarh, 75 per cent voting was reported from seven ZP zones. All the seven zones are under Attabira Assembly segment which is represented by Handloom and Textiles Minister Snehangini Chhuria. In a complete change of situation, the BJP is leading in Attabira zones 1, 2, 3, 4 besides in Bheden zones 2, while BJD is leading in 1 and 3.