Bhubaneswar : In what could be a real threat to the ruling BJD in the 2019 general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed 71 Zilla Parishad (ZP) seats in the first phase of the Panchayat polls which concluded on Monday. While BJD won 103 seats, 9 seats went in favour of Opposition Congress. Five seats were won by other parties.

In Kalahandi district, the saffron party made a clean sweep by winning all the nine ZP seats. While in Ganjam district the ruling party won 12 of the 16 ZP seats, in Balasore district, nine of the 10 seats were claimed by the ruling party and the lone went for Congress.

Mentionably, in the last panchayat elections in 2012, out of the total 851 ZP seats, the BJD had grabbed the highest 651 seats, while Congress got 126 seats and BJP managed with 36 seats. The remaining seats went to JMM (11), CPI (2), CPI (M) 1 and independent (22).

The first phase polling was held in 188 Zilla Parishad (ZP) seats spread over 65 blocks in 29 districts where 716 candidates are contesting. Elections were also contested for 1,506 Sarpanch and Samiti member posts. Officials said there are 853 ZP seats in the State of which elections will be held for 848 seats while there will be no elections in five seats due to various reasons.

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