Bhubaneswar, Feb 26 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal candidates were leading in 278 Zilla Parishad seats, about 88 percent of the 315 seats, the votes for which were being counting on Saturday, while rival BJP nominees could make a headway in only 18 seats followed by Congress in 15 seats according to trends issued by the State Election Commission (SEC).
The counting for the remaining 307 ZP zone seats will be done on February 27 and 229 Zilla Parishad zone seats on February 29, officials said.
While the ruling BJD candidates were much ahead of their rival in different districts, the opposition BJP which performed very well in the previous 2017 panchayat elections in the districts of Mayurbbhanj, Kalahandi and Malkangiri, struggled to retain seats.
The BJP, which had won 49 of 56 ZP seats in Mayurbhanj in 2017 panchayat elections, is now trailing in all the seats. While BJP was hopeful of a better prospect in the district with Union Minister Bishweswar Tudu campaigning for the party candidates, BJD’s organising secretary Pranab Prakash Das, seems to have turned the tides in favour of the ruling party.
Similarly, in Kalahandi, the BJP candidates were leading in only 4 seats while the party had won 33 ZP seats in 2017 elections. The BJD, which had won 1 ZP seat in 2017, is now leading in 10, SEC sources said.
Congress, however, performed at par with the BJP with its candidates leading in 15 seats compared to 18 for BJP. The Congress had won in only 60 ZP seats in 2017 elections while the BJP’s tally was 297 in the previous elections.
The BJD had won 651 ZP zones in 2012 and 476 in 2017.
As per the latest trends, the ruling party is heading towards a clean sweep in 10 districts–Bhadrak, Deogarh, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Kendrapada, Malkangiri, Nayagarh, Puri and Subarnapur.
In case any discrepancies were found between the ballot paper account prepared by the presiding officer and actual ballot papers in the ballot box, the actual ballot papers found in the ballot box shall be taken into account and accordingly counting will be done and results announced, SEC secretary R N Sahu said.
The counting of votes will be done for three days from Saturday. The polling was held in five different phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24. The overall voter turnout was 78.6 per cent this time, slightly better than the 78.03 per cent in 2017.
Sahu said the counting is being done with strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and CCTV cameras installed in counting halls. Each counting table has one counting supervisor, two counting assistants and a fourth class employee. As per the process, the ballot papers are being segregated by colours following which the bundles of 50 are being counted.
A total of 2.2 lakh candidates contested in the elections. The SEC had declared 36,523 ward members, 126 sarpanch, 326 panchayat samiti members, and one Zilla Parishad member as uncontested winners.
While party symbols were used only for the ZP seats, the candidates contested for the post of Sarpanch, Ward Members and Samiti Member in different systems. PTI AAM JRC JRC
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Source: The Print