BHUBANESWAR: With the panchayat polls due early next year, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today held a closed door meeting to discuss strategy as several incidents in the past months seem to have seriously dented the image of the party.
Ministers, MPs, MLAs, senior leaders and observers for six districts, Balasore, Bhadrak, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Bolangir and Jharsuguda attended a meeting at the Naveen Nivas presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik and deliberated on issues which will help to woo the voters in the panchayat polls. The meetings will be held in phases for all organisational districts.
Panchayat polls have become an one sided affair in Odisha for the last several terms with the BJD winning an overwhelming majority of Zilla Parishad seats. This time, however, opposition political parties hope to register better performance because of issues including the Dana Majhi incident, death of children at Nagada, death of five persons due to police firing in Gumudumaha and largescale irregularities in implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA).
In a bid to maintain the BJD dominance in rural areas, the chief minister asked the representatives from the six districts to monitor implementation of development work. Naveen asked partymen to strengthen organisation at the grassroots level by constituting booth committees by September 30 and report back to him.
The chief minister also warned party leaders that indiscipline would not be tolerated. Differences should be sorted out at the local level and brought to him as a last resort, he is reported to have advised the partymen.
BJP and Congress have also started preparations for the panchayat polls. The BJP has announced to contest all Zilla Parishad seats during the ensuing polls. The party had constituted a 16-member committee to oversee poll preparations.
Congress has also constituted a task force to finalise a blueprint for the panchayat polls.