Truth is the victim in Odisha bypoll campaign

Bypolls generate little interest in Odisha except for the war of words among the political parties and the grand promises they make during the campaigns.

Published: 29th November 2022 01:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th November 2022 01:42 AM   |  A+A-

election, polls, bypoll

Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo | PTI)

Bypolls generate little interest in Odisha except for the war of words among the political parties and the grand promises they make during the campaigns. However, Dhamnagar, which was reclaimed by Bharatiya Janata Party earlier this month, seems to have changed the game, and now the poll-bound Padampur assembly segment is generating heat. The ruling Biju Janata Dal and its primary opponent BJP have been at each other’s throats over several issues, the latest being the railway link to the region. The BJD government has trained its gun on the Centre for sitting on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s request to reconsider the shelved proposal of the Bargarh-Nuapada line, which links Padampur. It has also been critical of the BJP accusing it of misleading people over the project’s sanction status. Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw duly returned the potshots by saying his ministry would start the project work tomorrow if the land was sanctioned today.

It all started over the farmers’ agitation in the region over crop insurance under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). BJP escalated the matter by targeting the BJD government for choosing a private insurance company over PSUs, while the latter hit back, stating the insurer was empanelled by the Centre. Ever since then, the issue has refused to die down, with both sides accusing each other of peddling lies. Two Union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and Narendra Singh Tomar, weighed in, attracting more volleys from BJD. The ruling party lobbed the ball into BJP’s court, stating that PMFBY is a Central scheme and the BJP should own responsibility. Tomar even went on to say the compensation amount is with the state.

Truth be told, the parties have yet to come up with clear facts, barring flashing an occasional document in both issues crucial to the poll. It has been mostly about “your words against mine”. Though the farmer’s crop insurance disputes went through multiple technical advisory committees at both state and national levels, there is no clarity on why it has been stuck for over a year, and no side would come clean. Same with the railway line project. But that’s how elections pan out in India, where words sometimes mean very little, and fact is sacrificed at the altar of political gimmickry. But political parties would do well not to forget that the very people who vote them to power deserve the truth more than anything else.

India Matters


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