Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: After the tragic demise due to an accident of Purushottam Gomango as Zilla Parishad Chairman of Rayagada on December 24, the State Election Commission notified vide notice no-303 dated-1-2-2020 for by-election to be held on 19th February. Accordingly the election was held by Sri Amrit Ruturaj, IAS, PD, DRDA, Rayagada as the election officer.
Though BJP President Sri Samir Mohanty declared whip for BJP Zilla Parishad Members to abstain from voting, two of its members namely Sri Netrananda Kaibarta and Smt Pushpanjali Mutuka disobeyed the whip and voted in the ballot box installed in the DRDA conference hall. Both BJP and Congress leaders shouted to ouster both the ZP members from the conference hall and demanded before the Election Officer not to allow Kaibarta and Mutuka to vote. These leaders even had a tussle with the police present there to maintain law and order. They claimed that BJD had done horse trading for its candidate by defecting members from other parties.
According to Ruturaj 19 numbers of ZP members in toto voted. Sri Gangadhar Puala from Rayagada-20 Zone and Sri Ashutosh Kilaka from Kolnara-7 Zone filed their candidature from BJD and Congress parties respectively. Gangadhar got 13 votes and won the by-election and declared as ZP Chairman while Ashutosh got 5 votes. One vote got invalid.
Though BJD had only seven party candidates, Gangadhar could mobilise thirteen in his favour. While asked about this magic, Gangadhar said that it was not magic but members’ love towards him and his competency to work for the people. He would emphasize on fulfilling the basic needs of Rayagada. As the district is heavily tribal dominated, he will work for the sustainable development of his fellow beings, Gangadhar said to the scribes present at the venue.
It may be noted that as a Congress candidate, Purushottam contested as a Zilla Parishad member from Ramanaguda block and won in a thumping majority. Then he won as Chairman of Zilla Parishad in the election held on March 12, 2017 just by one vote. The rival BJD party filed a case in the local court where the election was declared null & void. He then appealed in the High Court, who directed the lower court to review its decision and ordered to continue him in the same post till the final decision by the district court.
The District Judge, Rayagada heard the case and based on the plaintiffs and evidences declared the election null and void and issued direction to the District Election Officer to conduct fresh election for the post of Chairman, Zilla Parishad.
May be he was little disturbed due to the court decision. While going back at night from Rayagada to Gunupur by motorbike, he lost balance and the motorcycle skid near Tandikana chowk leading to a sever fall down. After the accident he bled profusely from both of his years. He was rescued by the local villages and taken to Ramanaguda CHC and then to Sub-Divisional Hospital at Gunupur. As the condition still deteriorated, he was referred to a private hospital in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, where the doctors declared him dead.
So, Gangadhar will officiate as ZP President for three years if things go well. He gives credit of this win to BJD leaders, all ZP members who voted for him and all his well-wishers.