BHUBANESWAR: Villagers of Daruthenga, on the outskirts of the city, have decided to boycott the panchayat polls to protest against the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) dumping the capital’s garbage near their village. The civic body dumps nearly 150 truckloads of waste near the village every day. Not a single nomination was filed in the gram panchayat comprising nearly 6,000 voters. It has 13 wards, one samiti member and sarpanch post each.”We have unanimously decided not to participate in the rural poll process against the authoritarian attitude of the BMC authorities. We have also decided to boycott the General elections,” said a villager, who did not want to be named fearing police action.Daruthenga became a battleground in August last year when villagers stopped garbage-laden trucks from dumping waste. Policemen had to be deployed to escort the trucks. The protest snowballed into violence leading to the arrest of 25 villagers, including the sarpanch and samiti member. Though the government intervened, the problem could not resolved.”The state government has assured all support to the villagers but they are adamant on their demand. If the villagers unanimously decided not to participate in the process, what can we do?” said local MLA Bhagirathi Badajena (BJD).No nomination was filed in 10 panchayats in the cut-off areas under Chitrakonda block in Malkangiri district. The State Election Commission (SEC) said it would take a call on its next course of action once the nomination withdrawal process gets over on January 21. “Only then we would get a clear picture about places of no nomination, all nomination withdrawal and those rejected. According to law, we would issue a second-phase scheduled for filing of nominations,” said SEC secretary R N Sahu.
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