Bhubaneswar: For the first time in the history of Odisha, a single party has formed Zilla Parishad (ZP) in all 30 districts in the State.
This is an unprecedented victory for the Biju Janata Dal and the result of immense faith of the voters in the strong leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, A BJD leader said here on Sunday.
In a major decision, the party has chosen young, educated and talented party workers as Zilla Parishad Presidents with a long-term strategic view to mentor them for leadership positions.
Saraswarti Majhi, just 23 years old, is selected as the youngest Zilla Parishad President. A graduate in B Sc, she will be spearheading the development activities in Rayagada district.
Continuing his focus on the remote areas, Mr.Patnaik selected Samari Tangul of Swabhiman Anchal as the Zilla Parishad President in Malkangiri. She is 26 years old and studied till Plus II Arts.
Similarly, Saraswati Majhi is also from the remote Kashipur block. Kumudini Nayak in Sambalpur District is also from the remote Bamra block. It is expected that these areas will see further development activities in the coming years under the leadership of the local ZP Presidents.
At least 15 of the 30 districts (50%) have Zilla Parishad Presidents below the age of 40 years while 23 of the 30 districts (76%) have ZP Presidents below age 50 years. The average age of all the ZP Presidents put together is 41 years only.
Another important feature in this election is the higher educational qualifications of the selected candidates. 18 ZP Presidents have completed graduation. 26 of the 30 district ZP Presidents have completed at least Plus II level education.
The BJD Boss carefully chose educated candidates with good public reputation and without any criminal cases to provide enlightened leadership and good governance in the districts.
Reposing his faith in the women leadership and the cause of women empowerment, the ruling Party has chosen 21 women as the Zilla Parishad Presidents, that’s 70% of total seats, even though the women reservation is 50% statutorily.
This is the first time such a large number of women are heading the Districts in Odisha and probably, unprecedented anywhere else in the country, said the BJD leader.
The larger districts of Mayurbhanj, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Sambalpur and districts of Undivided Koraput (except Nawrangpur) are headed by Women Zilla Parishad Presidents.
Out of 18 Unreserved seats (including Women), 12 OBC candidates (67%) have been made Zilla Parishad President. This is as per the commitment of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik regarding giving preference to OBC candidates, he said.
In his own home district of Ganjam, Patnaik has selected an OBC women candidate as the Zilla Parishad President.