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Pradeep Singh

With barely six days left in the campaigning for the Odisha Municipal elections in Odisha, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to woo voters. While both the BJP and the BJD are expecting big win, Congress has alleged massive use of money power in the urban polls.

Deputy leader of BJP Legislature Party Bishnu Charan Sethi on Wednesday claimed that the party will win in 30-40 Municipalities/NACs in the Urban elections. The ruling BJD also claimed to repeat its rural polls performance in the upcoming urban elections.

Odisha Congress, which had a dismal show in the Panchayat polls, has failed to field candidates in several municipalities and NACs. The party has also alleged that the political parties in the State are trying to win the civic elections using 'money power'.

"Urban areas have more educated and self-employed voters. So, the freebies of BJD won't get them much get votes in the Municipal elections. We are hopeful of capturing 30-40 Municipalities/NACs," said BJP's Bishnu Sethi.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik said the party which can spend more money will win the election. He further said that earlier there was no use of money during Panchayat and ULB polls. "We don't have money to spend in the urban polls, but we will reach out to people as much as we can and ask for votes," he added.

Senior BJD leader and government chief whip in the State Assembly, Pramila Mallik, is however confident of the party repeating the Panchayat poll performance in the ensuing elections. “No current or wave will have any impact in Odisha. BJD will win all the Municipalities and NACs across the 30 districts,” she said.

On the other hand, as per the final list of the State Election Commission, a total of 569 candidates will fight for the post of mayors and chairpersons in the ULB polls. Among the three Municipal Corporations, Cuttack has the maximum 16 mayor candidates in the fray followed by 12 in Bhubaneswar and 7 in Berhampur.

If we look into Municipalities, Jeypore has the highest 18 chairperson candidates while Baripada has 16 candidates in the fray. Meanwhile, the increase in the number of candidates has been seen as a cause of concern for the major political parties.

Though more candidates contesting the election is a good sign in a democracy, one should not field nomination with a vindictive motive rather, he/she should fight the polls with a vision to work for people, said Rabindra Mohapatra, an independent candidate from Jeypore Municipality.

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