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BJD, Congress begin introspection on reverses in panchayat election

 The ruling BJD today said it would review its poor performance in the ongoing three-tier panchayat election in some districts of Odisha, although its overall show was better than rivals.

"We will certainly review the poor performance of the party in certain districts. Anyway, the BJD is still ahead of its rivals," BJD vice-president and spokesman S N Patro said after trends of the panchayat polls were known.

Though the State Election Commission (SEC), Odisha, was yet to formally announce results of the panchayat polls, the parties in fray claimed victories after assessing information collected by polling agents at the counting booths.

"The SEC will announce results of the panchayat polls after completion of polling in all the five phases after February 21," commissioner Rabinarayan Senapati said.

In the previous panchayat polls held for 854 Zilla Parishad seats in 2012, the ruling BJD had captured 654 seats followed by Congress with 128 seats and just 36 seats for BJP. The CPI had two seats while CPI(M) candidate could win in one ZP seat. JMM had bagged 11 seats while independents won in 22 ZP seats in 2012 panchayat polls.

However, the trend received from the two phases of the five-phase panchayat polls indicated that BJD had already lost about 86 seats. The party headed by Naveen Patnaik had in 2012 captured 290 out of 363 ZP seats in first and second phase. This time round, trend, however said that the BJD got only 204 seats, sources said.

As per the trend, te opposition BJP, on the other hand, secured nearly 121 seats in two phases against only 12 ZP seats in 2012.

Similarly, the trend indicated that Congress nominees could win in only 25 seats in the 2017 polls against 47 seats in 2012 polls.

The loss of about 86 ZP seats by two phases, has become a topic of discussion in the ruling BJD with party vice-president and Excise Minister Damador Rout suspecting sabotage behind the party's poor performances.

Meanwhile, cine actor turned politician Uttam Mohanty, who is in-charge of party’s affairs in Mayurbhanj district where the party drew a blank, blamed faults in the distribution of tickets by the party in the district.

Mohanty said he had little time to sort out the intra-party squabble in the district unit over ticket distribution. Several ‘deserving’ candidates switched their allegiance to the saffron party after being sidelined during ticket distribution.

“These dissatisfied candidates went to BJP and got tickets to win. I had very little time to persuade them or settle the internal bickering,” Mohanty told reporters.

Senior leader and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick said, “The trend is dangerous for the party. Introspection is necessary.”

The Congress leaders too began brooding over the poll results of the first two phases and felt each person in the party, including the High Command, is responsible for party’s poor performance.

Senior party leader and former PCC Chief Niranjan Patnaik  told reporters, “All of us, including our high command, is responsible for the loss. There is no organization in the State due to which the party failed to reach the people.”

Patnaik further added, “People in State were frustrated with the performances of the ruling party. They were looking for alternative but did not trust Congress. Hence they switched over to BJP.”

Party Chief Whip in State Assembly Taraprasad Bahinipati alleged shortage of funds hit the campaign of candidates.

“The party gave a mere Rs 25,000 to each candidates. It is not possible to run a campaign. Further ruling party candidates scared the voters to vote for them,” he alleged.


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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