Imitating AAP, Cong Promises Free Power to Poor - The New Indian Express

Imitating AAP, Cong Promises Free Power to Poor

Published: 07th January 2014 10:17 AM

Last Updated: 07th January 2014 10:17 AM

The Congress may have been out of power in the State for the last 15 years, but its leaders certainly have not run out of ideas to make promises, howsoever outrageous they may sound. Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Jayadev Jena on Monday took centrestage when he tried to do an Arvind Kejriwal and promised free electricity up to 200 units to below poverty line (BPL) families in the slums of Bhubaneswar, if the party won the January 8 urban body polls.

Jayadev, though, was at his wits’ end to explain how the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation could provide free and subsidised power since electricity does not come under its purview nor can it decide the tariff. All that the OPCC chief could mumble was subsidy would be provided to compensate for the loss arising out of the free power, but had no clue when asked to explain the modalities.

The ruling Biju Janata Dal was quick to pounce on Congress’ poll promise dubbing it ‘ridiculous’. Terming it cheap, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro said it is a stunt to hoodwink the people because electricity does not come under the purview of the municipality.

The Congress leaders, however, did not stop at that and went on a promises spree.

The OPCC president and Union Minister Srikant Jena, who campaigned for party candidates in different wards, even promised free education for slum children in English medium schools. One English medium school will be opened for every two to three wards having slums, under the Sarva Siksha Abhijan (SSA), Jayadev said.

 The party’s announcements also included provision of houses for the BPL families under Rajiv Awas Yojana and construction of community toilets in the wards.

 The BJD also stepped up its campaign as the last day drew close. While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik campaigned in several areas of Bhubaneswar North Assembly constituency, ministers and party MLAs approached the voters in different wards. Ollywood stars Anubhav Mohanty and Siddhant Mohapatra also campaigned for BJD candidates in different wards.

The BJP also launched an intensive, door-to-door campaign across the City. Pointing out the failures of the outgoing BJD-led BMC, the BJP leaders and candidates promised to improve civic services once they are voted to power. State BJP president K V Singhdeo, former minister Biswa Bhushan Harichandan and other senior leaders campaigned in different areas for the party candidates.

* There is a big question mark on how can the Congress’ success in the BMC polls will enable it to supply free electricity

* The council can neither take a decision on electricity tariff nor it has the authority to subsidise it

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