Ahead of next years Lok Sabha and Assembly polls,Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stole a march over Opposition parties as Biju Janata Dal (BJD) swept civic polls in western Orissa by winning 15 of the 20 urban local bodies that went to polls on Friday.
Two months ago,the party had won 49 of the 66 urban local bodies in the first phase of the polls. The polls to the 20 local bodies in the western Orissa were deferred due to a strike by lawyers in western Orissa demanding a separate bench of Orissa HC.
The massive win in western Orissa,considered to be BJDs Achilles Heel,has come as a major boost for Naveen and BJD with general elections less than 6 months away. An elated Naveen Patnaik said: This is a tremendous victory for our party in western Orissa. Naveen,who is now in 13th year of his chief ministership,campaigned hard as he helihopped to almost all the local bodies pitching for his party candidates. He also pressed the services of Oriya cinema stars and sports stars for getting the votes of urban youth. In contrast to BJDs win,Congress and BJP could win 1 urban local body each in Barpali NAC of Bargarh district and Patnagarh NAC of Bolangir district respectively.
In three local bodies,no party got clear majority. In the first phase,Congress had won 11 while BJP won 1 urban local body. The Congress performed miserably in Kalahandi district where its party MP and AICC spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das could not save Bhawanipatna municipality going to BJDs kitty. In Sundargarh too,where Congress has an LS MP,it could not stop the BJD juggernaut. For BJP it was another washout performance as the party could not retain the seven civic bodies which it won in 2008 elections.