Fights for Zilla Parishad in Sambalpur

It is all set to be a triangular fight involving the Congress, BJP and the BJD in the ensuing Panchyat election for 19 Zilla Parishad seats in the district. Though in power, the Congress will find it hard to retain control with heavyweights like Prasanna Acharya and Rohit Pujari of the BJD and Jayanarayan Mishra of the BJP working overtime to assert their supremacy in the run-off to the 2014 Assembly polls.

At least seven ZP seats that will see a triangular contest are Maneswar zone I and II, Rengali zone-I, Jujumura zone-II, Jamankira zone-II, Naktideul zone-I and II. The three major political parties have fielded candidates for all the 19 ZP seats while NCP has put up candidates in four, CPI and Kosal Kranti Dal have fielded a candidate each. Altogether 72 candidates are in the fray, including rebels.

Though Jharsuguda Congress MLA Naba Kishore Das had been nurturing Rairakhol Assembly segment ever since he was nominated to contest from Jharsuguda Assembly segment, the party clout in the Assembly segment is waning. Prasanna Acharya had won from Rairakhol Assembly segment.

In the absence of leadership and rising factionalism, the Congress failed to consolidate its position in the segment, which has eight ZP seats. It is now up to the BJD to put up a good show.

The BJP will try to fight hard. There is no denying that ever since Rohit Pujari changed sides and contested for MP seat, the BJD gained in terms of presence and vote bank. With Prasanna Acharya already having represented Sambalpur Lok Sabha segment and seemingly has good rapport with Rohit, a united fight by the BJD will give the BJP a run for its money.

However, the Congress is strong in Rengali and Kuchinda Assembly segments with the segment represented by the Congress though it would not be a cake walk. While Rengali has five ZP seats, Kuchinda has six and the Congress is banking on it to pocket votes. The BJP is equally strong in the areas with Kuchinda being represented by two-time MLA Rabi Naik, Rengali had seen district BJP president Nauri Naik contesting from here in 2009 polls after reorganization of the Assembly segment.

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