Baripada: Nine candidates of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), including independents, are in the fray for the two zilla parishad (ZP) seats under Shyamakhunta block of Mayurbhanj district. However, the battle lines are drawn between BJD and BJP candidates, said sources.
Victory in ZP zone No- 49 (ST) and 50 (ST-women) has become a prestige issue for both the parties. Notably, BJP had wrested two ZP seats from BJD in 2017 panchayat elections.
Reclaiming the ZP seats is said to be a prestige issue for Bangiriposi MLA and Revenue Minister Sudam Marndi. Senior leaders of the two parties have been working hard on their strategies.
All the nine candidates are conducting door-to-door campaign in 14 panchayats having 59,600 voters. A total of 89 candidates are contesting for sarpanch, 77 for samiti member and 373 for ward member posts in the two ZP zones.
The ruling party candidates have been sweating it out to garner support of the voters by highlighting various welfare measures and development works of the state government in the area.
It was stated that in many panchayats located on the foothills of Similipal, people are sore over basic problems like education, drinking water and healthcare. Some political observers said that this time, unhappiness among voters on the basic issues will reflect on the voting.