With ruling BJD set to sweep the zilla parishad (ZP) seats across districts, opposition parties have been let to lick their wounds. Such have been the early trends on Day -1 of counting that any reversal of fortunes is unlikely.
In Kalahandi, where BJP held sway, the first phase counting for 13 ZP seats saw BJD turning the tables on the saffron outfit. The ruling party bagged nine (Kesinga, Junagarh, Golamunda, Koksara, Thuamul Rampur, Narla, M Rampur, Lanjigarh and Karlamunda) while BJP won in four (Dharmagarh, Kalampur, Bhawanipatna and Jaipatna) seats.
BJD is also headed for a massive victory in Sundargarh where it is leading in 13 out of 17 ZP seats, counting for which is underway. Till last reports came in, BJD and BJP were locked in a close fight in Tangarpali-A and Lathikata-A seats with JMM’s Sundargarh district president Patra Ekka, who had taken good lead in the initial rounds, left behind.
The BJP leaders were left licking their wounds. Sundargarh MLA of BJP Kusum Tete alleged it was the result of the BJD’s use of money power and entire government machinery and added that government officers and police shamelessly worked for the BJD. She accepted defeat in the first round of counting. Birmitrapur MLA of BJP echoed similar views and added he accepts the defeat.
Counting of 17 other ZP seats would take place on Saturday, while the last remaining seat Lathikata-C would be done on Sunday. Those familiar with the prevailing political scenario in Sundargarh said the second round of counting would not make much difference for BJP and the BJD expected to sweep the remaining seats.
In Angul, where counting took place for ZP seats in all eight blocks, BJD led in all including Kishore Nagar, BJP’s stronghold. BJD is also leading in seven out of eight seats in Dhenkanal, with BJP leading in Hindol block. Counting for the remaining 20 and 19 seats in Angul and Dhenkanal, respectively will be done in the next two days, Collector Sidhartha Shankar Swain said.
Malkangiri saw BJD sweep all seven ZP zones including Kalimela, Podia, Malkangiri, Mathili, Khairput, Chitrakonda and Korukonda.
In Jajpur, BJD was leading in 10 out of 39 ZP zones (Jajpur, Binjharpur, Barachana, Bari, Dharmasala, Dasarathapur, Danagadi, Korei, Rasulpur and Sukinda ZP zones) till reports came in with BJP and Congress yet to open their accounts.
Counting in 14 ZP zones in as many blocks in Koraput began on the day, with BJD taking the lead in Borigumma, Kotpad, Kundra, Jeypore, Boipariguda, Koraput and Nandapur. Although Congress is following at close second, it is ahead of opposition BJD in Lamataput, Semiliguda, Dasmantpur, Laxmipur, Narayanpatana and Bandhgaon blocks.
“We’re happy that majority of our candidates are ahead in the counting and we will emerge first,” said Suryanarayan Rath, BJD observer in Kotpad constituency.
District Congress chief of Koraput Minakhi Bhainipati hoped that the party will have won more seats after the results. “We found there is huge change of voting trend in BJD areas and they have supported Congress,” she claimed adding that Congress candidates have fared well despite use of money, muscle and power by BJD.
Ganjam witnessed similar scenes with BJD leading in all 22 ZP seats in the first round of voting on the day. Counting for remaining 47 seats will take place on Monday. At least 24 BJD candidates are leading in Mayurbhanj where counting is underway. Two JMM candidates are ahead of ruling BJD in zone-1 in Udala and zone-33 in Bisoi blocks. There are 26 zones in the district.