Political parties to boycott ULB polls in Sambalpur

Bhubaneswar: Intensifying their demand for a High Court bench in Sambalpur a group of leaders from several political parties including BJD, Congress and BJP on Saturday decided in a meeting to boycott forthcoming Urban Local Body (ULB) elections.

The leaders also supported the 'Western Odisha bandh' call given by several bar associations in the district protesting against the delay in setting up of the HC bench. Notably, lawyers decided to observe the bandh from August 20 to August 28.

“From the beginning we made it clear that whatever decisions the all-party meeting will take the Biju Janta Dal (BJD), Sambalpur, will support that fully. In the past we supported the movement and in future also our support will continue,” said Rohit Pujari, Sambalpur district president, BJD.

The decision also got support from opposition parties. “Congress has been raising this issue in the Assembly for several times. Our party supports the outcome of today's meeting,” said Duryodhan Gardia, Congress leader.

Similar tone was also heard from BJP, the other major political party in the meeting. “We have been supporting this movement. Our stand is to support the decision of the all-party meeting,” said Jaynarayan Mishra, BJP leader.

In a related development, the state election commission (SEC) made it clear that despite the bandh call given by bar associations in the district the date for filing of nomination paper will not be extended. The SEC fixed August 20-24 for filing of nomination paper for the ULB polls.

For the reserved seats the state government would put up its candidates in case no one turns up to file nomination papers due to the strike in the Western districts. Similarly, the SEC said it would declare fresh poll dates for unreserved seats under the Municipal Act Sec 11-5 if the poll process does not run smoothly.