BJD forms zilla parishads in all Odisha districts

Naveen Patnaik CM Odisha

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has created history by forming zilla parishads in all 30 districts of Odisha with 70% presidents of these panchayati raj institutions being women.

“The unprecedented victory for the party is the result of immense faith of the voters in the leadership of chief minister Naveen Patnaik,” party MP Pinaki Misra said on Sunday.

“For the first time in the history of Odisha, and probably across the country, a single party has formed zilla parishad (ZP) in all the districts in a state,” he added.

BJD has filled 67% of zila parishad president seats (unreserved/women) with members from the OBC community.

Party leaders said the chief minister has chosen “young, educated and talented party workers” as zilla parishad presidents to mentor them for leadership positions. The average age of these council presidents is 41 years.

Saraswarti Majhi, 23, has been selected as the youngest zilla parishad president. A BSc graduate, she will be spearheading the development activities in Rayagada district.

Continuing his focus on the remote areas, Naveen Patnaik selected Samari Tangul of Swabhiman Anchal as the zilla parishad President in Malkangiri. She is 26 and has studied till Class 12.

Similarly, Saraswati Majhi is also from the remote Kashipur block. Kumudini Nayak in Sambalpur District is from remote Bamra block. Twenty-one women have been chosen as the zilla Parishad presidents, which is 70% of total seats, even though the women reservation is 50% statutorily.

The larger districts of Mayurbhanj, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Sambalpur and districts of undivided Koraput (except Nawrangpur) are headed by women Zilla Parishad presidents.

In the 18 unreserved seats (including women), 12 OBC candidates (67%) have been made ZP president.

In his own home district of Ganjam, Naveen Patnaik has selected an OBC women candidate as the zilla parishad president. Fifteen of the 30 districts (50%) have ZP president below the age of 40 years and 23 of the 30 districts (76%) have their council president below 50 years.

The BJD leaders said the selected candidates have relatively “higher educational qualifications” with 18 district council presidents having completed graduation and 26 of them having completed at least +2 level education.

The BJD had registered a landslide victory in the three-tier panchayat polls by winning 766 out of 852 seats, held in five phases.

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