Independents spring a surprise by scoring victory in 12 out of 67 wards in the Bhubaneswar

Biju Janata Dal retained Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation by recording a thumping victory in the civic body elections, results of which were announced here on Thursday.

BJD’s candidates won in 49 of 67 wards cornering more than 73 per cent of seats in BMC. Two major opposition parties -- Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress -- were wiped out in the election with wining four and two seats respectively.

The results, which came on expected lines, however, had one element of surprise. As many as 12 independent candidates won their seats making them second largest bloc after BJD in 67-ward corporation in the capital city.

Counting of votes began on campus of BJB Autonomous College amidst soaring anxiety among candidates and supporters at 8 a.m. Every trend of results being leaked out from counting rooms was being responded with big round of applause. Supporters of victorious candidates were seen dancing.

A tight security blanket was thrown around BJB Autonomous College and police in plain clothes were keeping close watch on the gathering.

BMC Mayor Anant Narayan Jena registered an emphatic victory by getting 5024 of 5859 votes (85.57 per cent) polled in the election. His nearest rival from Congress was to satisfy with 699 votes. Similarly, Amaresh Jena of BJD in ward number 45 got 4126 votes out of 4836 cornering 85.31 per cent of votes.

In ward number 65, BJP candidate Jyotshnamayee Jena defeated her nearest rival Manita Swain of BJD by 143 votes. A total 2,98,853 of 6,90,239 voters exercised their franchise. Of the 12 independent candidates who won the election, most of them were rebel BJD candidates. As the day unfolded, BJD leaders had given enough hints that though support of independent candidates was not required as party had got absolute majority, independent candidates could apply to become associate members in the corporation. However, they made it clear that the final decision on rebel candidates would be taken by party president.

Reacting to election results, BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked voters for party’s victory and reiterated that efforts for Bhubaneswar’s development would continue.

BJP unhappy

“The results definitely made us unhappy. But the way money and muscle power were used in the election, it was really difficult for other parties to win election,” said BJP State president K.V. Singhdeo. Jayadev Jena, president of State Congress, which received drubbing in the election, however, said the defeat would not impact forthcoming Assembly and general elections.