Congress goes downhill but retains strongholds in Odisha panchayat polls

The party has so far won 21 ZP zones and is leading in another 9 in this election till reports last came in. 

Published: 28th February 2022 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2022 05:32 AM   |  A+A-

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Image used for representational purposes

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Written off as an also-ran before the panchayat elections, the performance of the Congress has been noteworthy as the party retained its traditional strongholds in southern Odisha and other areas.

If statistics are considered, the tally of the Congress will be less than the 60 zilla parishad (ZP) zones that it had won in the 2017 panchayat elections. The party has so far won 21 ZP zones and is leading in another 9 in this election till reports last came in. 

The party will gain satisfaction from the fact that it has not surrendered its strongholds like Rayagada and Koraput districts in favour of the ruling BJD this time. In several other southern districts like Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Gajapati, the party has put up a good fight despite the organisational superiority and better election machinery of the BJD.

In Koraput district, the party has won or is leading in 11 zones compared to BJD’s 15 while in Rayagada district the party is ahead in five seats. In Malkangiri, the party has won one seat and is leading in another while in Gajapati district, the party has won from two zones.

Several senior leaders maintained that if the party had more resources and effective election management machinery, the results would have been much better. Many leaders who campaigned in the panchayat elections are surprised by the one-sided results in favour of the BJD. A senior leader said that there was disenchantment among the people against the BJD and the BJP. “We expected that the tally of both BJD and BJP will go down. But the results are beyond expectations,” he said.

There is a ray of hope for the party. Some leaders claimed Congress voters have started coming back to the party unlike the 2017 elections when they had shifted to the BJP. Some leaders maintain that minus the Congress votes, the BJP is likely to be relegated to the third position this time. However, the party’s miserable performance in Keonjhar and coastal districts remains a cause of concern. 


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