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Landslide victory for Naveen Patnaik’s BJD in Odisha panchayat elections

Published : Mar 01, 2022 17:35 IST T+T-
Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik inside the Kalinga Stadium.

Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik inside the Kalinga Stadium.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which emerged as main opposition by winning 297 Zilla Parishad seats in 2017, put up a pathetic performance by winning just 42 seats this time.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has registered a landslide victory in the elections to the three-tier Panchayati Raj institutions in Odisha, decimating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.

When the final results were declared by the State Election Commission on March 1 after three days of counting of votes, the BJD won 766 of the 852 Zilla Parishad seats and the BJP finished a distant second by winning 42 seats and the Congress remained in third position with 37 seats.

The BJD had won 473 of total 846 seats in 2017, while the BJP had won 297 and Congress had won 60 seats. In the panchayat elections held in 2012 for 854 seats, the BJD had won 654 seats, followed by the Congress with 128 seats and the BJP with 36 seats.

Of the total 853 seats this time, elections were held in 851 seats. Of the remaining two seats, the BJD candidate had won one seat in Bargarh district uncontested and election in one seat in Keonjhar district was countermanded due to the death of a candidate.

With the declaration of the results, the BJD will form Zilla Parishad in all the 30 districts of the State. The BJD won 90 per cent of the seats by securing 52.73 per cent votes polled while the BJP got 30.07 per cent votes and Congress 13.57 per cent.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked the people of the State for making his party victorious. Stating that this victory will further strengthen their commitment to public service, he congratulated the winning party candidates and activists who turned the BJD into a movement through dedicated work.

The BJP, which had replaced Congress as the main opposition in the 2017 panchayat elections, failed to win a seat in as many as 10 of the 30 districts this time. The party also failed to retain its strongholds in western Odisha.

The panchayat elections were held in five phases between February 16 and 24 and the  counting of votes was done from February 26 to 28. While candidates for the post of Zilla Parishad Members contested on party symbols, candidates for the post of Panchayat Samiti Members, Sarpanch and Ward Members contested without party affiliation.

After 36,523 Ward Members, 126 Sarpanchs, 326 Panchayat Samiti Members and one Zilla Parishad Member were elected unopposed, around 2.2 lakh nominees contested in these elections.

The panchayat elections in the State saw a large number of tribal people exercising their franchise in inaccessible and Maoist-infested areas. Polling was held peacefully in Swabhiman Anchal in Malkangiri district, earlier known as a cut-off area.

Meanwhile, preparations have started for the elections to urban local bodies in the State which is scheduled to be held on March 24. The BJD is likely to perform equally well in the 109 urban local bodies that are going to the polls.