W. Odisha ULB polls: 69 file nominations on first day

OST Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 29:
Despite stiff opposition and protests, filing of nominations for the 22 urban local bodies in nine western Odisha districts began Monday.
A total of 69 candidates filed their nominations on the first day for nine civic bodies, including Jharsuguda and Brajarajnagar, despite the Central Action Committee (CAC) of the lawyers’ bodies sticking to their decision of ‘no court, no vote’.
However, tension prevailed after clashes over purchase and filing of nomination papers at some places.
At Sonepur, there was sharp reaction from the lawyers opposing filing of nominations for ULB polls when the superintendent of police (SP) raised his baton at them. Lawyers accused the government of trying to hold elections to ULBs by hook or crook in spite of their opposition.
Filing of nominations began at some places with police assistance.
Political parties too have expressed varying opinions on the boycott of ULB polls. The ruling BJD, which had earlier sided with the decision of the lawyers on the boycott of ULB polls, has this time changed its view. Though nothing positive has come out on the establishment of a High Court bench in western Odisha, BJD leader Rohit Pujari said the party had decided to participate in the polls. BJD candidates filed their nominations at several places.
BJP spokesperson Suresh Pujari said his party was keeping a close watch on the situation and would take a final decision soon. He, however, made it clear that the party still supported the agitation of lawyers’ bodies for establishment of a High Court bench in western Odisha.
The Congress too is dithering on its stand. On one hand, party MP Amar Pradhan has told the media that the party was still with the lawyers’ agitation and will participate in the polls if all parties decide to take part. On the other hand, the party’s candidates Monday filed their nominations in Jharsuguda.
According to State Election Commission (SEC), a total of 280 nomination papers were sold on the first day.
16 candidates in Brajrajnagar filed their nominations despite the boycott decision. Similarly, 34 in Jharsuguda and 11 in Rajgangpur have filed their nomination papers. Clashes between candidates and lawyers were reported from Jharsuguda.
Reports said out of the 34 candidates who filed their nominations in Jharsuguda, 12 are from BJD while 22 are from Congress. However, in Brajrajnagar, all the 16 nominations filed were by BJD candidates.
According to reports, while two candidates each from Bargarh and Bhawanipatna filed their nominations on the first day, one each from Junagadh, Kuchinda, Tarbha and Biramitrapur filed their nominations.
Not a single nomination was filed in 12 civic bodies.

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