Parties indulge in horse trading ahead of ZP Council formation

Bhubaneswar: Panchayat poll is over and the results have been declared by the State Election Commission (SEC). But the cause of concern among political parties is horse trading by opponents to maintain proximity with the winning ward members and Zilla Parishad (ZP) members to form council in respective blocks.

Consider this. A ZP member of Muniguda block in Rayagada district has reportedly offered Rs 4 lakh to winning ward members of other parties to support him in the formation of council. Party insiders said, in many cases the price ranges from Rs 4- 10 lakh depending on the support of the number of candidates a ZP member gets.

Sources said, the Odisha unit of Bhratiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing to form council in Singpur and Kulnara blocks of the tribal dominated district, where it has not fared well. But party heavyweights dispute it.

“Our party is a national party and we don’t believe in horse trading. Those which are weak at grassroots level, indulge in such businesses,” said Suresh Pujari BJP’s national general secretary.

The scenario is no different in Nimapara. If sources are to be believed, as many as 20 winning ward members along with their family members have been staying at the official residence of the Local BJD MLA Sameer Ranjan Das here for last 15 days. Fearing horse trading, the ruling party’s Karanjia legislator Bijay Nayak has also followed what Das has done to save his block from being poached by opponents.

On being asked about such a deal, Nayak said: “If other parties can do this (horse trading) why can’t we? But in my case, it is not what is reported.”

Party sources said, all the 13 elected ward members of Saintala block in Bolangir district have been staying at the official residence of former leader of opposition Surendra Singh Bhoi here for past 15 days. Though Bhoi chose not to respond to such a query, the ward members staying in his residence admit it.