The former allies have have joined hands to take control of at least 2 municipalities. The BJD swept the election to 66 urban local bodies on September 19,winning 49 municipalities and NACs to the Congress 12. The ruling party,however,suffered a setback in Dhenkanal: it managed only 6 of the 23 seats while the Congress won 11. It,therefore,stood little chance in Mondays election for the chairperson. Enter the BJP.
The partys five members supported the BJD the lone independent was conveniently absent and,thus,tied the vote with the Congress. The tie forced a draw of lots which came out in favour of the ruling party. The BJD returned the favour in Barbil in Keonjhar. It rallied its five members and an independent to help the BJP,which had won only two of the 15 wards,to get the better of the Congress,its seven members notwithstanding.
BJD spokesperson and panchayati raj minister Kalpataru Das,however,cautioned,that not much should be read into such alliances. In these two local bodies,the aim was not to let the Congress win. This does not mean there would be any alliance with the BJP in the assembly or Lok Sabha polls, Das said.
BJP leader Suresh Pujari said his party did not want to divide the anti-Congress vote. In Barbil,our ward members had excellent relations with the BJD and that helped. There is nothing beyond that, he said.
In Berhampur though,the election played out differently: at least five Congress members voted to elected BJDs K Madhavi as the mayor though the BJD,with 24 of the 39 members in the municipal corporation,was in no need for their support.