Bhubaneswar: Former mayor and three-time corporator Ananta Narayan Jena has been elected unopposed as the mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), announced BMC administrator Sanjib Mishra here on Friday. Official sources said, Jena who retained the top post for second successive time, was the only corporator to file nomination papers as independent candidates with a strength of 12 corporators preferred not to field a candidate in the election, against ruling BJD’s 49.
BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik earlier in the day announced Jena’s name as the party’s candidate for the mayor election in BMC. Jena’s name was doing the rounds for the coveted post along with three others soon after BMC poll results were declared on January 9. Sources said, Jena had bright chances to win the election since he had initiated some significant developmental works such as introducing City Bus services, setting up shopping malls and widening of roads in most parts of the city. Besides, according to BJD insiders Jena was the favourite to retain the mayor’s job as he is experienced and is a three-time corporator. He had secured 5,024 votes and won the polls from ward 47 with the highest margin of 4,334. Among the front runners to the top post were minority leader Sk Nizamuddin, two-time corporator Amaresh Jena and Mahamaya Swain.
Nizamuddin, who won the election for the third consecutive term and was a councillor before the BMC was formed, also had a claim. The other strong contender Amaresh Jena had registered second highest winning margin. Swain, wife of Gayadhar Jena (general secretary of Rajdhani Haat Byabasahi Sangh, Unit I), was too viewed as another contender for the coveted job. Swain was said to have the backing of Bhubaneswar-Ekamra MLA Ashok Panda. Swain won the elections from ward 53, where chief minister Naveen Patnaik resides, beating his nearest rival by 973 votes. In the corporation, BJD has 73 per cent of seats with corporators in 49 of 67 wards. On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have four and two seats, respectively.