Both parties fight against each other in panchayat polls in 23 districts
BHUBANESWAR: That longing for power can make friends turn enemies and enemies turn friends has become clear even before the results of the three-tier panchayat polls in Orissa were officially announced by the State Election Commission.
The Biju Janata Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which fought the polls against each other in as many as 23 of the 30 districts of the State have now given clear hints that they are ready to join hands to keep the Opposition Congress outside power in the Zilla Parishad bodies in several districts.
The two parties which are ruling the State by forming an alliance since March 2000 had failed to fight the current panchayat polls jointly. After several rounds of discussions, the leaders of both parties were able to reach a consensus to jointly contest the polls in only seven districts of the State.
In the run-up to the polls, leaders of both parties had also complained against each other at many places where candidates of both parties were in the fray. But the hostility has now taken the back seat.
BJP's poor show
Both Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik and BJP State unit president Suresh Pujari have now hinted that both parties would join hands to form the Zilla Parishad in the districts where they were not likely to gain a majority on their own.
According to reports, the BJD has been able to secure clear majority in the elections to the Zilla Parishad Member posts in about 10 districts and the Congress had emerged as second in the race occupying the position to form Zilla Parishad bodies in about seven districts on its own. The BJP, who has reportedly performed poorly in the polls, was able to gain majority in one district only.
In such a scenario, the BJD and BJP have been left with no option except coming together to jointly form the Zilla Parishads where they were unable to come to power on their own.
Meanwhile, both the BJD-BJP alliance and the Opposition Congress have started the process of wooing independents and candidates of smaller parties to occupy the Zilla Parishad chairman posts in several districts. The results of ZP member posts are likely to be officially announced on Saturday.