Bhubaneswar, February 14: On Monday BJP emerged as a major gainer in the first phase of Panchayat polls. As in the 1st Phase of Panchayat Polls though ruling BJD Candidates lead in the maximum places but BJP was close to ruling BJD in winning Zilla Parishads seats. The BJP seemed improving its position in the Zilla Parishad seats in Odisha as it went to the first phase of the three-tier Panchayat elections yesterday.Out of 188 Zilla Parishads seats BJD candidates leading in 104 seats, BJP in 71 seats, Congress in 9 seats and others 2 seats. It should be noted that out of total 851 Zilla Parishad seats polled in 2012, BJD grabbed 651, Congress got 126 and BJP managed with 36 seats while 22 seats had gone to independents.
Polling was conducted for 188 Zilla Parishads of 29 districts yesterday where 716 candidates were testing their fate. BJD was leading in maximum seats where as BJP was gaining ground in Odisha by replacing Congress party which was in second position. In Koraput BJD won all 7 seats. In Mayurbhanj BJP won 14 seats out of 15. In Balasore, of the 10 Zilla Parishad seats polled, BJD claimed 9, Cong 1. BJP made clean sweep in Kalahandi district by winning in all 9 Zilla Parishad zones.
In the first phase of elections, at least 71% of the 5828446 voters exercised their franchise to elect 188 Zilla Parishad members, 1,506 Sarpanchs and Samiti Members; 20,369 ward members spread over 65 blocks. The second phase of elections is scheduled to be held across the state tomorrow and rest three phases would continue till 21st of this month. About 2 crore 61 lakh voters will exercise their franchise. The Panchayat polls are being held in five phases across the state. The remaining four phases of the rural polls will be held on February 15, 17, 19 and 21.