Bhawanipatna: Campaign for the three-tier panchayat elections is in full swing in Kalahandi district with Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress leaving no stone unturned to grab votes and win as many Zilla Parishad (ZP) seats as possible.
Both the BJD and BJP have set their sight on making a clean sweep in ZP polls here this time. There are 36 ZP seats spread in 13 blocks of this district. Ganatantra Parishad had first formed Zilla Parishad in Kalahandi in 1961.
Since then, six leaders of different political parties had held the post of the ZP chairperson. In 2002, Sharmistha Meher of the BJP was made the ZP chairperson. In 2012, BJD’s Srimati Majhi was made its chairperson.
In 2017, the BJP for the second time grabbed the post of the ZP chairperson. Namitarani Sahu was made the ZP chairperson. In the 2017 panchayat elections, the BJP led by Bhawanipatana MLA Pradipta Kumar Nayak had made a clean sweep in the ZP polls.
The saffron party grabbed 33 out of 36 ZP seats in the district. However, Nayak being indisposed now has been away from the organisational activities for over eight months.
In his absence, MP Basant Panda has taken up the baton of party’s organisational activities and campaign. However, how far Panda will hand out electoral success to the party remains to be seen.
Pradipta Nayak being inactive now in the organisational activities has provided an opportunity to the BJD to fight back and reclaim the ZP zones.
Energy Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra is looking after electioneering of the party for the panchayat polls. According to political observers, his image has allegedly taken a beating after opposition parties linked him with murder of school teacher Mamita Meher.
Despite this, the state leadership of the BJD has handed out the charge of electioneering in the panchayat polls to him. It may be a tough challenge for Mishra to bring about electoral success for the party.
However, former Congress MP Bhakta Charan Das has not fallen behind in leading the campaign for the party. Party’s top leadership has reposed faith on Das’ organisational skills and able leadership to win back some ZP seats.
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