Sambalpur: Four newly-elected women leaders from BJD are in the race for Sambalpur zilla parishad (ZP) chairperson post with the party winning 16 out of 18 zones, said sources.
The ruling party has won five out of six zones in Kuchinda Assembly segment, six out of seven zones in Redhakhole Assembly segment and all five from Rengali Assembly segment.
The party’s spectacular victory has given rise to speculation as to who would be the chairperson with the post being reserved for women.
Siddharth Das, BJD’s district president, said, “It has become a daunting task for the party to nominate one of the women leaders as chairperson with 10 women candidates winning from different zones. All the winners have brought glory for the party.”
However, educational qualifications, organisational skills, party’s reach in their constituencies and leadership skills will be given priority while nominating one of them as chairperson, he said.
The district leaders will first converge at a meeting and the local MLAs will be consulted before sending the final list to the state leadership.
There the party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will take the final call, he added. Reports said among the winners, four are in the fray for the post.
Sujata Khuntia has won from zone1 under Jamankira block in Kuchinda Assembly segment. This zone was earlier deemed as a BJP citadel with the BJP candidate winning from this zone in the last panchayat election.
This time, Sujata’s educational qualification and her skill in organising people endeared her to the voters.
Sujata defeated BJP’s Simantika Bariha by a margin of 7,993 votes which is the highest vote margin among all the winners in this Assembly segment.
As a result, she is deemed as the most favourable for the chairperson’s post. Kumudini Nayak, who earlier won zone-1 of Bamra block has again won this time from zone-2 of the same block.
She carries rich political experience and the voters have reelected her as she is a known face in the area. She defeated BJP’s Sunil Kumar Das by a margin of 7,129 votes. She is one of the main contenders for the chairperson’s post.
Similarly, Tikeshwari Meher, a graduate, of the ruling party has won zone-2 of Naktideula block. She is a teacher at a private school. She defeated BJP candidate Luchna Gardtia by a margin of 4,912 votes and is in race for the chairperson’s post.
BJD’s Choleswari Mahananda has won zone-1 of Rengali block by defeating her nearest BJP rival Priyambada Behera by a record margin of 15,414 votes. The record margin of votes she has secured has made her a probable contender for the post of ZP chairperson.
Among these four, Sujata has organisational skills while Kumudini carries rich political experience.
Similarly, Tikeshwari has good educational background while record margin of votes weighs for Choleshwari on her side. Choleshwari has also completed her intermediate in Science.