.........BHUBANESWAR: The process of panchayat polls came to a close on Thursday with election to the posts of vice-chairperson of panchayat samitis. Meanwhile, the BJD claimed that candidates supported by it won in 220 of 307 blocks where polling was held.
The BJD was ahead in 29 of 30 districts where election for the posts was held except Jharsuguda in which all the three blocks were won by Congress. While the BJD supported candidates won in 220 blocks, Congress, which slipped to the third position behind BJP, is said to have secured the second position as nominees supported by it won in 42 blocks.
The BJP, which emerged as a serious challenge to the ruling BJD in Zilla Parishad (ZP) elections, has been able to win panchayat samiti vice-chairperson posts in 28 blocks. However, several BJP leaders claimed that candidates supported by the party have won in more than 50 blocks.
Sources said Congress supported candidates have not won a seat in 13 districts while BJP has drawn a blank in 16 districts.
In Kalahandi and Mayurbhanj districts where the BJP had swept the ZP elections, the BJD has emerged winner in panchayat samiti vice-chairperson polls.
According to reports, of 13 blocks in Kalahandi district, the posts of vice-chairperson in six have gone to BJD supported candidates while BJP and Congress have won in five and one blocks. Similarly, in Mayurbhanj, BJD supported candidates have won in 20 of 26 blocks in the district. While BJP supported candidates have won in five blocks, JMM supported candidate has won in one block.
After the announcement of results of panchayat samiti vice-chairperson elections, Congress claimed that the partyís grassroots support base has not eroded. In the election to panchayat chairperson posts, BJD supported candidates had won in 218 blocks, while Congress backed candidates had won in 45 blocks. BJP candidates had won the posts in 29 blocks while Independent and others had won in 15 blocks.