BHUBANESWAR: After initial reverses, the BJD seems to have recovered some ground with the party winning more than 100 seats in the first phase of Zilla Parishad (ZP) polls, as per the unofficial trend of results.
However, the provisional tally is much below the expectations of the ruling party with its rival BJP claiming to have won more than 65 seats. As repolling has been ordered in 62 Wards of 24 gram panchayats (GPs) due to different reasons, the final tally is awaited.
Though there may be some improvement in performance of the ruling party after the final tally of seats is compiled, its poor show in the constituencies of the heavyweights has come as a shock. Ministers who have lost ground in their constituencies in the first phase include Debi Mishra, Jogendra Behera, Pushpendra Singhdeo, Ashok Panda, Pradip Panigrahy, Snehangini Chhuria and Sudam Marandi.
The party has suffered serious reverses in Kalahandi, Balangir and Mayurbhanj districts. While BJP has won all the nine ZP seats in Kalahandi in the first phase, the BJD has won only one seat out of seven ZP seats in Balangir. Six seats have been won by the BJP. In Mayurbhanj district, BJP has won 12 out of 15 seats while BJD has won two and one has gone to an Independent candidate.
BJD spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera said party’s performance will be reviewed after the elections are over.
Sources said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken the issue seriously. He is reported to have asked ministers, MPs and MLAs to ensure that the party improves its performance in next phase of elections. A target has been set to win in 651 ZP seats. The BJD had won 651 out of 853 ZP seats in 2012 polls.
However, while the BJP has made a clean sweep in Kalahandi district, it has lost to BJD in Nuapada district, the home district of State BJP president Basant Panda. In Congress, all the heavyweights have also lost ground to either BJD or BJP.