BHUBANESWAR: As the panchayat poll, scheduled in February next year, is likely to be announced within the next couple of days, all the major political parties have stepped up activities to finalise their action plan to woo the voters.
While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has visited almost all the districts during the last one and a half months to inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of different projects and launch welfare schemes, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan has also toured a number of tribal and backward districts to encourage the grassroots workers.
The 19th Foundation Day of the BJD has assumed importance in view of the ensuing panchayat polls. While the Chief Minister will attend a function to mark the occasion at the party headquarters here, he has asked his senior party leaders, including MPs, MLAs, State office-bearers, district presidents, defeated candidates of Lok Sabha and Assembly polls to observe the day at the constituency level.
Though 2016 seems not to be ending on a positive note for the BJD because of incidents such as Dana Majhi, police firing on innocent tribals at Gumudumaha, death of children due to malnutrition at Nagada and Japanese Encephalitis in Malkangiri, the ruling party has decided to go to the people with its development plank for the panchayat polls.
The Chief Minister has asked his party leaders in the letter to go to the people and make them aware about the schemes launched by the State Government for their benefit. Besides, Central neglect and slashing of funds for development schemes will be other campaign issues of the BJD.
The Congress has decided to release a manifesto for the panchayat polls. The manifesto is ready and will be released after the panchayat poll is announced by the State Election Commission (SEC), a senior Congress leader said.
The BJP has scheduled a meeting of its party office-bearers from district and block levels at the State headquarters here from December 27 to January 2 to discuss panchayat poll preparedness, State party president Basant Panda said.
Senior BJP leader Sajjan Sharma said the party has decided to go to the villages and ask whether promises made by the Chief Minister before the last panchayat poll have been implemented. “Like this time, the Chief Minister moved across the State last time making promises and laying foundation stones,” Sharma said and added, “we will ask people how many of the promises have been fulfilled.”
Sharma alleged many projects for which the Chief Minister had laid foundation stones are yet to be started. “We will take these issues to the people,” he said.