Kendrapara municipal polls, NCP partners Cong

Kendrapara: With NCP, which earlier allied with the ruling BJD, forging ties with the main opposition Congress, all eyes are set on the coming municipality polls in Kendrapara. The urban body election assumes significance in view of the mid-February three-tier panchayat polls in the state.

While the voters, dejected by corruption and maladministration by successive urban local bodies formed in the past, are evincing little interest in the process, parties are gearing up with strategies to emerge triumphant.

"82 candidates have filed nomination from 21 urban boards which are going to polls on November 15. Deadline for filing nomination ended on Sunday. Last date for withdrawal is November 3," said Pratap Mishra, Sub Collector of Kendrapara.

The municipality election has become the focus of attention as NCP, which had entered into electoral alliance with BJD in last general polls, has joined hands with Congress to take on the ruling party in the state. "We have severed ties with ruling BJD. Our poll alliance is with the Congress for the Kendrapara urban local body polls because BJD has failed to deliver good governance. The conscious voters of Kendrapara would vote in our favour," quipped Utkal Keshari Parida, state unit president of NCP.

State Congress president Niranjan Patnaik said his party and NCP have come together to take on the ruling BJD.

Notwithstanding indifferent mood of voters, it has turned out to be politically significant at the backdrop of the three-tier panchayat polls scheduled early 2012. The major contenders-BJD, Congress and BJP-are likely to leave no stones unturned to see that respective candidates sail through the polls on a victory note.

In the run up the all-important panchayat polls, the election for the Kendrapara urban local body is turning out to be barometer to gauge the parties` popular base.

While the BJD, under fire following recent unfolding of scams try to send the message through victory that its` base is still intact, Congress with its new state chief Niranjan Pattnaik faces the first poll test as the head of the party. BJP might try to prove is still a force to reckon with success in Kendrapara urban body polls.