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‘Others’ step into poll arena

- Former mayor files nomination

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 19: At a time when the nation is split over the Supreme Court’s verdict on homosexuality, filing of nomination paper by Meneka Kinnar, a candidate from the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) community, attracted much attention here today.

Meneka, along with supporters Madhuri, Kajal and Meera, filed nomination papers for ward No. 15. Meera alleged that while the gender of the LGBT persons was mentioned as “others” in the voter identity card and the voter list, there was no reservation for their community. Seats were reserved on the basis of gender and castes, Meera said.

“Authorities should have taken care of this issue before preparing for polls. If we face any difficulty, we may move court to establish our rights,” Meera said.

Meneka said: “Besides issues such as better civic amenities and health care delivery, I will also work for the rights of LGBT community.” More candidates from the community may file their papers on Friday.

All roads of the city today led to the office of the additional district magistrate, who is designated as the election officer for the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation polls.

The area wore a festive look on the fourth day of the filling of nominations as 90 poll hopefuls filed their papers, most of them coming in colourful processions. With both Independent and party candidates coming to file papers, police had to cordoned off the road.

Additional district magistrate Manoj Kumar Patnaik said: “Tomorrow, we will close the road from early hours and have more police force deployed at the spot till the nomination process is over.”

Among the prominent candidates, former mayor Ananta Narayan Jena and councillor Amaresh Jena (both BJD) filed their papers.

Among the major political parties, the Congress and the BJP asked their candidates to file nominations, but their tickets will be released during scrutiny. While the list of nominations received will be published after 5pm tomorrow, the scrutiny will be held on December 23 and the parties have to send their official candidate list to the election officer by December 22.

Political drama

The drama in the BJD camp created embarrassment for the party workers with discussions over three controversial wards creating problem for the selection committee, headed by parliamentary affairs minister Kalpataru Das. The minister had yesterday told The Telegraph that the list would be finalised by Thursday morning.

“I was even asked by an MLA to get ready and come with all papers by 10am to Naveen Nivas to file the papers. But till evening, I am not sure about my own fate,” said a former BJD councillor.

He, however, said that more than six former councillors had lost their hopes to the party politics. Sources said: “The problem areas to select candidates in the Bhubaneswar (Ekamra) Assembly constituency may cause more problem for the party in next year’s Assembly polls.”

While many discarded BJD hopefuls are still not sure what to do, sources said many might file their nominations as rebel candidates and split party votes. However, party leaders declined to comment on the matter.

District Congress leader Pratap Jena said: “We have already given green signal to 52 candidates to file nomination papers and the rest will be given a go ahead by today evening or Friday morning.”

BJP state executive member Ratikanta Das said: “We have approved our candidates and will send the ticket list to the election officer by Sunday.”

BATTLEGROUND BHUBANESWAR

With elections to the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation scheduled for January 8, The Telegraph takes a look at the city wards, the success and failures of the councillors and what the residents have to say about their localities