BHUBANESWAR: With the panchayat polls due early next year, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Sunday held a closed-door meeting to discuss strategies as several incidents in 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, Balangir and Jharsuguda - attended a meeting at Naveen Niwas presided by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and deliberated on issues which will help to woo voters in panchayat polls. The meetings will be held in phases for all organisational districts.
Panchayat polls have become a 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 put up a better show because of issues such as the Dana Majhi incident, death of children at Nagada, death of five persons due to police firing in Gumudumaha and large scale irregularities in implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA).
In a bid to maintain the BJD dominance in rural areas, the CM asked the representatives of the six districts to monitor implementation of development works. Naveen asked partymen to strengthen organisation at the grassroots level by constituting booth committees by September 30 and report back to him.
The CM 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, Naveen is reported to have advised 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.