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Conch blows loud

- Women to dominate new civic council
Former mayor and BJD winner from ward No. 47 Ananta Narayan Jena after his victory in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati and Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 9: BJD has won 49 seats in the 67-member civic body council here. Independents, BJP and the Congress secured 12, 4 and 2 seats, respectively.

During the 2008 polls of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, BJD had won 41 of the corporation’s 60 wards, while BJP had emerged victorious in eight, Congress four and Independents seven wards.

Apart from the BJD, the other big winner this time are women. The new council will be dominated by women as 38 of them have won from different parties. With 50 per cent seats being reserved for women in the civic polls, the strength of women councillors has gone up significantly this time.

However, the BJD received a severe jolt in Ekamra Assembly constituency with party candidates winning only in 13 of the 23 wards in the segment represented by the party’s most influential legislator Ashok Panda. Incidentally, the chief minister’s residence falls in this Assembly seat. In the Bhubaneswar (North) Assembly constituency, BJD won in 19 out of 25 wards. In both the Assembly constituencies, four rebel candidates each won the contest defeating BJD’s official nominees.

However, the BJD performed better in the Bhubaneswar (Central) Assembly constituency. The party won in 17 of the 19 wards in the area, with two seats going to the BJP.

A prominent rebel candidate, Biranchi Narayan Mahasupakar, won in ward No. 59 at Samantarapur. Another rebel helped a BJP candidate win in ward No. 65.

Though the BJP’s tally this time was less compared to 2008 results, the party’s polling percentage was good according to official sources. However, the Congress fared badly as it managed to win only in two wards.

BJD district president Babuli Mishra said that the city residents voted overwhelmingly for the party as they were happy with the performance of Naveen Patnaik government. District Congress committee president Manoranjan Das, however, attributed the BJD’s victory to “money and muscle power”. BJP district president Amiya Dash said: “People have once again reposed their faith in us as our vote percentage has gone up.”

Victorious Ashwini Sundaray of the BJD

Highest margin
Ananta Narayan Jena (BJD, ward No. 47): 4334 votes

Lowest margin
Sukanti Subudhi (Ind, ward No. 18): 133 votes

Lowest number of votes polled
Prasanta Parida (Ind, ward No. 15): 6

The defeated BJD candidate from ward No. 8, Linkan Subudhi, today accused senior party members of nipping her fledgling political career in the bud. She alleged that the outgoing mayor, a sitting minister and an MLA had worked against her.

With the voter turnout as low as 43 per cent, slum-dwellers played a decisive role in deciding the fate of the majority of the candidates.

“People residing in posh areas and government colonies did not evince enough interest in polling. Therefore, all the parties tried to woo the slum-dwellers whose votes proved decisive,” said Bhimasen Sahu, a political activist.

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