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Third gender misses out

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 23: The “other” factor nixed the hopes of Madhuri Kinnar, the only candidate from the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) community to have filed nomination for the ensuing corporation elections.

Kinnar’s nomination papers were cancelled because the ward (No. 30) for which the papers were filed was reserved for women.

The election officer cancelled six nominations today and two were rejected on the ground of being underage. The minimum age to become a candidate is 21 years.

The election officer-cum additional district magistrate (ADM) Manoj Kumar Patnaik said: “The nomination papers of Madhusudan Behera (Independent) from ward No. 5 got disqualified for non-production of a caste certificate and a blank affidavit form. Seema Dalei of the Indian National Congress from ward No. 9 also got her nomination cancelled for the lack of a caste certificate.”

Nominations of Lipsa Nayak from ward No. 14 of Utkal Bharati Party and Pradyumna Pradhan (Independent) of ward No. 21 were cancelled as they are below 21 years of age. Another candidate from ward No. 66 Ajay Kumar Subuddhi got his nomination cancelled because he failed to produce a caste certificate.

The final list of candidates will be published tomorrow at 11am at the offices of the ADM and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation. Although 451 nominations were filed, the final list of candidates could have much lesser names because many candidates have filed multiple nominations because they were not sure about their candidatures or party tickets till the eleventh hour.

In campaign mode

With the polls just around the corner, the prospective candidates have started campaign to woo the voters.

Several former councillors, who have not been able to get party tickets, have gone in hibernation. In several wards that have been reserved for woman, the previous councillors have managed to secure a tickets for their wives.

Sridhar Jena, who was councillor from ward No. 40, is not contesting this time because the ward has been reserved for woman. But Sridhar’s wife Sushama Jena has filed papers this time from ward No. 32.

Sushama said she would contest the election based on the success stories of her husband in past five years. “I have started campaigning by visiting households and requesting the local residents to vote for me. People here are ready to support the BJD,” she said.

However, Sushama will face stiff resistance from her kin Pramodini Jena, who is the BJP candidate contesting for the same seat.

“I am contesting the poll to serve the people. People are listening to me and discussing their problems with me. They have assured me support,” said Pramodini.

Candidates have started displaying posters, banners and distributing pushing cards among residents. Besides such display campaigns and door-to-door promotion, they are also indulging local youths in rallies.

Dipak Kumar Mahapatra, an Independent candidate from ward No. 52, today alleged that the BJD candidate from the ward had his name in the voters’ list in two different places. However, his complaint was not registered with the election officer.

The election officer explained that if a candidate has any such problem, he might approach the district election tribunal as the election office was not empowered to deal with such complaints.