Despite the chit fund scam staining the image of his party, chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday ended any doubts about his popularity after the Biju Janata Dal swept the election in eight civic bodies in western, coastal, southern and central Orissa. Elections were held for eight civic bodies in the State on Tuesday.
BJD won absolute majority in all the eight civic bodies with Congress and BJP almost wiped off the electoral map of the municipalities. BJD won Paradip, Sunabeda and Belpahar municipalities and Balimela, Dharmagada, Tusara, Daspalla and Rairakhol notified area councils. Of the total 129 wards, the BJD won 103 seats (79.84%) while Congress and BJP won 11 (8.52%) and 12 seats (9.30%) respectively. The independent candidates won three seats (2.32%). This is the third successive win for BJD in civic polls in last 2 years. In September 2013, the party won 49 of the 66 urban local bodies in the first phase of the polls. In November 2013, it swept the civic polls in western Orissa by winning 15 of the 20 urban local bodies.
Paradip, the most prestigious of these civic bodies, recorded the highest turnout of 80 per cent.
While chief minister Naveen Patnaik canvassed for party candidates in Paradip, senior ministers were deployed in other civic bodies. For BJP union tribal affairs minister Jual Oram campaigned.
BJD minister Arun Sahu said the election results showed people were still trusted Naveen Patnaik tha any other leaders in the State. But Stte BJP president KV Singh Deo allegd BJD used money and muslce power. “We never saw use of helicopter by ruling parties in previous polls. This time BJD crossed all limits,” said Singh Deo. Former Congress MP Pradip Majhi said the party is definitely in one of its weakest phases. “We have done badly where candidates were weak. We have to analyse our defeat and take corrective steps,” he said.
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