BHAWANIPATNA/SAMBALPUR/ROURKELA: The BJP tally has gone up to 33 in Kalahandi district, which has a 36-member Zilla Parishad (ZP). In the final phase of Panchayat election, the Saffron party won three more ZP zones. Of the rest three zones, Congress won two and BJD managed just one.
According to unofficial sources, while BJP is leading in Madanpur Rampur 1, the BJD is at an advantage in Madanpur Rampur 2 and the Congress nominee is ahead in Thuamul Rampur 1 and 2. However, BJP nominees are ahead in Lanjigarh 1 and 2.
Despite being Maoist-affected zone, the elections were peaceful.
Former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das attributed the landslide victory of the BJP in the district to money and muscle power unleashed from across the border in Chhattisgarh.
“The district administration and police, however, closed eyes to voters being influenced with money power by Chhattisgarh leaders. Vehicles from Chhattisgarh roamed around freely distributing cash but the administration could never see them,” he alleged, adding that anybody who dared to protest was terrorised at gun-point.
Das said the Congress ZP candidate from Zone 1 in Thuamal Rampur faced a murderous attack by BJP candidate from the zone Lalit Naik and his father Haldhar Naik along with workers from Chhattisgarh and Nabarangpur at Mahulpatna, but police are yet to make any arrests in the case.
After the election was over on Tuesday, Das staged a dharna outside the collectorate demanding arrest of those involved in the attack.
In Sambalpur district, the final tally of BJP stood at 13 out of total 18 ZP seats after BJP candidates grabbed the two ZP seats which went to poll in the final phase.
Even though BJP had already won the requisite number of ZP seats to form the Zilla Parishad in the district after the fourth phase panchayat election on Sunday, the result of final phase will further strengthen the party.
On the other hand, the BJD has managed to capture only five ZP seats while the Congress failed to open its account in the district. The Kuchinda-1 and 2 ZP seats in Kuchinda block are under Kuchinda Assembly constituency represented by BJP MLA Rabi Naik.
Similarly in 35-member Sundargarh ZP, BJP won four of the remaining six ZP seats to emerge as the single largest party with a total of 14 seats. The ruling BJD got two ZP seats in the final round to take its tally to 13, but the Congress was decimated.
The BJP snatched three seats from the BJD and one from the Congress on Tuesday. With this, the total ZP seats tally of BJP rose to 14 while it had drawn a blank in the 2012 election.
However, the Saffron party is four seats short of the magic number of 18 and its chances of forming the Sundargarh ZP council are remote as the Congress with five ZP seats and the CPI and CPM with one each seat are unlikely to support BJP. In fact, the Congress had given clear indication of supporting the BJD in the event of a fractured ZP mandate.
Sources said the BJD in the last round managed to retain Gurundia-A ZP seat and clinched Gurudia-B ZP constituency, earlier held by the JMM.
The party suffered a huge blow in Sundargarh sub-division winning one of 18 seats but it performed well in Bonai sub-division by capturing seven of eight ZP seats. In Panposh sub-division, BJD won five of nine seats.