Stage set for fourth phase of Odisha panchayat polls

The unexpected surge in the popularity of the BJP has also taken its leaders by surprise.

Published: 18th February 2017 09:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2017 09:10 PM   |  A+A-

Voting.(File photo for representational purpose | AP)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: As the stage is set for the fourth phase panchayat polls tomorrow, a tought fight is expected between the arch rivals BJD and BJP to emerge as the winner in a bid to dominate the political space.

The unofficial results received so far indicate towards a groundswell of support for the BJP, though the ruling BJD has so far maintained its number one position. However, the number of seats won by the BJD in the Zilla Parishad polls seems to have gone down by more than 130 seats compared to the 2012 polls.

The provisional unofficial results of the first three phase polls suggest that the BJD has so far won in 294 seats out of the 538 seats while the BJP has got 183 seats. The Congress tally has gone down to 40 and others are ahead in 21 seats.

In the first three phase polls in the same number of seats in 2012 elections, the BJD had won in 428 seats followed by Congress in 72 seats. The BJP had won in only 19 seats while independents and others had also bagged 19 seats.

The unexpected surge in the popularity of the BJP has also taken its leaders by surprise. Senior leaders of the party have intensified their campaign efforts for the last phase polls scheduled on
February 21.

Even though several BJD leaders have announced that the results will be reviewed after the polls to initiate corrective measures, speculations are rife in the ruling party circles about the post poll scenario and steps being contemplanated by the party leadership against leaders who failed to deliver.

Meanwhile, in the wake of being asked by the State Election Commission (SEC) to curb any poll-related violence across state, Director General of Police (DGP) KB Singh today said all possible
steps are being taken to prevent any untoward incident. The DGP said additional police force is being deployed in sensitive and hyper-sensitive booths besides others places.

The SEC said that all arrangement are in place for the fourth phase elections scheduled to be held tomorrow. Polling will be held in 28 of the 30 districts of Odisha except Jharsuguda and Boudh. A total of 50,61,974 voters will exercise their franchise for the election of 1324 sarpanch and 17,876 ward members in 162 Zilla Parishad (ZP) zones.

Stating that the polling parties have already left for their respective polling booths, SEC secretary Rabindranath Sahu said elaborate security arrangements are being made at the sensitive and hyper-sensitive booths in 28 districts.

Sahu said the district Superintendents of Police have been given specific instruction to provide armed police force escort to each polling party for their arrival and return from the polling booths.

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