Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Jan 22:
Biju Janata Dal candidate Meenakshee Behera was today elected uncontested as the new Mayor of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) in Odisha’s Millennium City.
Behera emerged as the lone contestant as no candidate came forward to file nomination papers.
The BJD corporator from ward No 45 filed her nomination papers this morning along with her proposers at CMC’s Conference Hall.
The nomination process began at 10 am and continued till 11 am. However, none except the BJD nominee submitted the documents.
Prior to this, the BJD corporators and other leaders of the party had a closed-door meeting at Barabati-Cuttack MLA Debasish Samantaray’s residence here this morning where it decided on fielding the candidate.
The Opposition corporators, however, were up in arms against the Mayor candidate alleging that her name is also in the ration card list.
“The BJD fielded a corrupt candidate as her name also figures in the ration card list. The former Mayor had to resign from the post for this particular reason. We had decided to abstain from voting. We will continue to oppose this,” Congress corporator, Giribala Behera said.
It may be mentioned that the BJD has 35 corporators, Congress has nine, BJP has four and 10 independent corporators in the 59 member urban local body. Ward no 21 is lying vacant following the resignation of Anita Behera.
The election for the post of Mayor was necessitated after the resignation of Anita Behera from the post owing to the controversy over her name figuring in the list of National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries.
Behera resigned from Mayor and corporator’s post after the opposition parties targeted her for the ration card row. Fresh corporator election for ward No 21, which Behera represented, was not held and notification for Mayor’s election was issued by State Election Commission (SEC).
A poll aspirant from ward no 21–Kanaklata Nayak—moved Orissa High Court on January 13 seeking annulment of the State Election Commission’s (SEC) notification for election of CMC Mayor.
Ward no. 21 is a reserved seat for scheduled caste women candidate and not only that it is the only reserved seat for scheduled caste women candidate in the CMC under the Barabati-Cuttack Assembly constituency. With this seat remaining vacant holding election to elect CMC mayor will violate Odisha Municipal Corporation Act 2003, the petitioner had contended.
Hearing the petition, the High Court yesterday rejected the poll petition seeking annulment of the SEC notification for holding Mayor election paving way for the poll scheduled for today.