Baripada: The victory of BJD in the Bijatala Zilla Parisad by-elections in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district has established the leadership of former minister and BJD’s Nayagarh MLA Arun Sahu. Ever since, the BJD faced a humiliating defeat in the most of the ZP zones in Mayurbhanj during the Panchyat polls in 2017, Sahu was given the charge of the district. He was steering the campaign along with his party colleagues MLA Pranab Balwantray, Byamakesh Ray and Umakanta Samantray in the ZP by -elections.

Bijatala was a difficult zone for the ruling BJD. For, never before since the independence the Janata outfit had won the zone. The zone was in the hands of JMM. It was during the last two elections, BJP had captured the zone. In the last elections, the BJP had won the seat with 7000 votes while the JMM got 500 and BJD finished third with 3000 votes. After the BJP came to power in the neighbouring Jharkhand, the saffron party was consolidating its position in the zone.

BJD, however, snatched out the zone from the grip of BJP under the leadership of Arun Sahu, who is know for his meticulous planning and precision execution of  election campaign. 

BJD candidate Raghunath Majhi won the ZP zone with a margin of 4212 votes against BJP’s Kutulu Hansdah . The JMM ended up in third position. There were total 10 candidates in the fray. The elections for ZP Zone 32  was held on Thursday.  A total of 17,779 voters out of the total  23,119 voters of the five panchayats –Bijatala, Mundathakura, Banakati, Raihari and Luhasila — of ZP 32 turned up to exercise their franchise on Thursday. The election was necessitated after the demise of BJP ZP member Chhotray Marandi earlier this January.