BALANGIR: The sensational Mamita Meher murder may not have cut any ice with the voters in Kalahandi district where she worked but in Balangir, where the lady teacher hailed from, it had its impact.
Of the 34 zilla parishad zone seats, BJD won an overwhelming 26 seats while the saffron outfit managed just four. Congress which has two MLAs in the district also bagged four zones.
Interestingly, one of the four ZP zones won by Congress is Turekela 2 (Zone 11) where Koushik Meher, uncle of deceased teacher Mamita Meher contested. Meher won handsomely by a margin of 1,212 votes as he secured 8,548 votes against the BJD candidate. In fact, Raghubir Meher, another uncle of Mamita, had contested for sarpanch post from the native Jharni village and emerged victorious too.
This, locals say, proved that people voted against the ruling party over the sensational murder of the lady teacher which had snowballed into a massive controversy over the alleged link of Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra with prime accused Gobind Sahu.
“If we take the whole picture into account, it emerges that despite BJD winning overwhelmingly elsewhere, Mamita Meher issued turned the tide against it in these two areas only. Elsewhere, there was no stopping the ruling party,” said a poll analyst.
However, tribals who were up in arm against BJD for excluding them from quota seat and making it general seat found no takers. Prior to election, they conducted meetings and rallies both at block, subdivision and district levels and opposed government decisions that failed to curb BJD progress.
However, it was a lost cause for Bharatiya Janata Party which had formed zilla parishad in the district as it was reduced to a single digit this time. Balangir also has a BJP MP, MLA and two Congress legislators. Only Patnagarh and Titilagarh are represented by BJD MLAs. Despite that, the saffron outfit was rejected by the voters.