Bandh for HC bench: Nomination for ULB polls halted in W Odisha

Bhubaneswar/Sambalpur: Even as aspiring candidates of political parties are bracing up for the submission of nomination papers starting today for the ensuing urban elections, the process has been completely disrupted in western parts of the State due to bandh call given by All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA) demanding High Court bench in western Odisha.
 
Almost all the political parties have decided to boycott the polls over the issue while the bandh observed by the lawyers has taken their move a step further in this regard. On the first day of filing nomination papers, members of AWOBA picketed near the government establishments and forced the officials to shut down the offices disrupting the nomination process. A large number of the association members also staged dharna in front of the RDC office in Sambalpur while others resorted to demonstration outside municipality office preventing staff to attend the office.
 
According to sources, the district election officer could not make it to the office today due to the 24-hour strike of the advocates.
 
Meanwhile, the agitation has gathered momentum after leaders of different political parties and members of various social outfits joined the dharna. On the other hand, the bandh impact has been sounded in the Assembly when MLAs of western Odisha created ruckus in the House, prompting the Speaker to adjourn it twice. Opposition BJP and Congress stalled the House with sloganeering for HC bench while BJD members of western Odisha staged dharna near Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Assembly premises over same demand.  
 
A similar scenario was witnessed in Bargarh, Sundergarh and Jharsuguda as the bar associations of the respective towns have also joined hands with the agitators.