The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Friday swept the civic polls in Odisha, winning 45 of the 66 urban local bodies. The opposition BJP could manage to win only one local body despite campaigning hard, with their billboards and other campaign material projecting the partyís prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modiís face prominently.
The results, which were announced a day after the polling, is a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who managed to win the civic polls despite the rebellion by his mentor and Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra last year.
The results are also significant for Naveen as Odisha would face assembly polls along with Lok Sabha polls next year.
Naveen, who is now in 13th year of his chief ministership, campaigned hard as he helihopped to almost all the local bodies pitching for his party candidates.
He also pressed the services of Oriya cinema stars and sports stars for getting the votes of urban youth. Ahead of the polls, Naveen unveiled his Youth Policy and started laptop distribution programme for meritorious students of high school certificate examination.
The BJD also won the Berhampur Municipal Corporation, the only corporation where elections were held along with 25 municipalities and 40 notified area councils. Sources said with the help of independents and rebel BJD candidates, the party is likely to have majority in 51 urban local bodies, up from 40 in the 2008 civic polls.
The opposition Congress also managed to improve its tally from nine in 2008 to 12. The lone urban local body the BJP won was in tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district.