BHUBANESWAR: The dismal performance of the Congress in Odisha rural polls continues. The party that finished third in the last two phases of poll, also continued in the same position in the third phase that concluded on Friday by getting only 11 of the 115 Zilla Parishad seats, results of which were declared so far. On Friday, elections were held for 175 ZP seats. Counting of voters for the remaining 60 ZP seats was still on. The BJP, that was in the third slot in the state politics, knocked out the ruling BJD headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik from its top place and won 50 ZP seats. The BJD has bagged less — 43 seats.
Senior Congress leader and former Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee chief Niranjan Patnaik attributed his party’s failure to the lack of concerted efforts by the state and central leaders. “I respect people’s verdict. We should not blame anyone. It is only we who are responsible. There’s no point blaming others,” he said. However, the Congress old guard termed the gains of the BJP in the polls to that of people turning away from the BJD and the failure of the Congress to rise to the occasion. “What I have observed in these polls is that people are turning their backs on the BJD,” Mr Patnaik said. There is a dislike among the people for BJD. They couldn’t trust the Congress in full. They had to vote for somebody, so they found the BJP as the alternative,” Mr Patnaik said.