BJD sweeps Cuttack civic polls,robs BJP of its bargaining power

The BJP’s dipping stock in Orissa hit a new low on Saturday with the party’s miserable performance in the Cuttack Municipal Corporation elections.

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar | Published: February 8, 2009 1:33 am

The BJP’s dipping stock in Orissa hit a new low on Saturday with the party’s miserable performance in the Cuttack Municipal Corporation elections. State Higher Education Minister and BJP leader Sameer Dey,who had led the BJP’s campaign in the civic poll,resigned from the Naveen Patnaik Cabinet taking responsibility for the party’s debacle.

“I have sent my resignation letter to my state president. I feel I am responsible for the poor show. I am accepting the public verdict with all humility,” Dey said. Of the 54 seats,while the BJD won 37 and the Congress 8,the BJP was reduced to a meagre 2 seats. The BJD also emerged the single largest party in the Baripada Municipality of Mayurbhanj district and is all set to head the body with the cooperation of two Independents.

The significance of the Cuttack election result stems not just from ending the BJP’s 10-year-rule rule in the Corporation but also from ending the political leverage the party was hoping to draw upon for seat-sharing talks with estranged partner BJD for the coming Assembly and LS polls. The parties had parted ways for the two civic polls after failing to reach a seat-sharing arrangement,with the CM making the Cuttack and Baripada polls a sort of referendum on his 9-year-rule.

The rift between the coalition partners has widened after Kandhamal riot with the BJD eyeing a larger share of seats enabling it to ultimately go it alone.

However,BJP general secretary Nayan Mohanty said the results would not affect seat-sharing. “We lost because we could not get our message of development across.” Senior BJD leader Damodar Rout also denied that the Cuttack results would affect the seat-sharing talks. “These are local polls,” he said.

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