Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: The ruling Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance will win more number of Zilla Parishad seats in the coming panchayat polls than it had won in the 2002 elections, State BJP president Suresh Pujari said on Thursday.

At a press conference here, president of the party's State unit Suresh Pujari, however, admitted that the alliance could have done much better if they could have jointly fought the coming polls in all the 30 districts of the State.

"If both BJD and BJP could have come together in all the 854 Zilla Parishad zones, the Congress could have faced a crushing defeat," Mr.

Pujari said.

The two parties are jointly fighting the polls in seven districts, while both have fielded their candidates in the remaining areas. The districts where the two parties were fighting the polls jointly are Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Kandhamal, Kendrapara, Nawrangpur and Sundargarh. In seven districts, the BJD candidates were contesting in 110 seats and the BJP was fighting in 94 seats. In the last panchayat polls, the two parties had jointly fought the polls in three districts. As regards the areas where both parties had fielded their candidates, Mr. Pujari said their main rival was the Congress and the nominees of the two parties were not attacking each other. As regards his party's performance, Mr. Pujari claimed that BJP wouldl improve upon its performance in the last elections that were held in 2002.