BJD members kept in hiding

With just a week remaining for the election of Zilla Parishad president, the 10 elected BJD ZP members have been shifted to an undisclosed location. They have been shifted after reports of Congress trying to poach its members to form the ZP were received.

To ensure surety, the BJD ZP members will arrive in Sambalpur on March 13 morning and head straight to the ZP to exercise their franchise paving way for the BJD to rock the citadel of the Congress. The BJD which hardly had any presence in the district, except in Rairakhol Assembly segment, is all set to form the Sambalpur ZP with its candidates winning in 10 out of 19 seats. Congress has won in eight seats and BJP managed only one.

Considering the equations, the Congress might end up forming the ZP if it can rope in the BJP candidate and woo one from the BJD.

However, that looks a tough job with the lone BJP member likely to support BJD. The ruling party, on the other hand, would not like to take any chances.

In the last ZP election, the BJD managed to get only one seat while failing to have any representation in Sambalpur Municipal Council. Even as the BJD is basking in its success, the win in Sambalpur has come as a surprise to both the Opposition

parties.

Though the BJD tried to win over people by making Pramila Bohidar a Rajya Sabha member and Prasanna Acharya won as Sambalpur MP thrice in 1998, 1999 and 2004, it failed to make any impact on the fortunes of the party which was considered as a ‘Katakia Party’. Things changed after erstwhile State Youth Congress president Rohit Pujari deserted the Congress and took the reins of BJD in the district.

The recent poll results clearly indicate that the party has gradually strengthened its position in the district.

While Balangir, Sundargarh, Sonepur, Boudh had Ministers backing the party, things were not the same in Sambalpur. Though Prasanna Acharya could not from campaign due to ill-health, the BJD came out with flying colours.

The BJD has set out on a new beginning in Sambalpur district, once a stronghold of the Congress.

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