Even as the urban body polls, to be held in September, are likely to be announced on Monday, the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation, including the growing incidents of rape and atrocities against women, have put the ruling BJD in a fix ahead of the polls.
While the Congress camp is busy putting its house in order, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is already on the job wooing voters with sops for one and all. However, no senior BJD leader is ready to talk about the dismal law and order scenario and how it will affect the prospects of the party in the urban body polls.
The BJD leaders are avoiding the issue as the Chief Minister holds the Home portfolio. Side-stepping the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kalpataru Das said the BJD’s main plank in the urban body polls will be development. The BJD workers will go to the people to explain how the State has developed during the last 13 years despite Central neglect.
Though the State Government has come under Opposition fire for several scams during the last one year, the Chief Minister has been working to woo the electorate. The urban body polls, to be held a few months ahead of the general elections in 2014, will certainly give broad indications about the things to come.
Naveen has already announced Madhu Babu Pension Yojana and several sops for the urban clubs under the State Youth Policy. The ruling party has also made several announcements to woo people living in urban areas, particularly in slums. Besides stopping illegal encroachment by slum-dwellers, Naveen has offered housing schemes for them. The sops announced by Naveen during the last one year to woo the voters of all sections will total Rs 2,000 cr.
The Congress is still way behind the BJD as far as poll preparedness goes. A meeting of the presidents of the District Congress Committees (DCCs) was convened last week to discuss the issue. However, there seems to be a lack of coordination between the senior leaders.
Asked about the party’s preparedness for the urban body polls, media cell chairman Narasingh Mishra told this paper that neither the OPCC president nor the DCC president has so far discussed the matter with him.