SAMBALPUR: Even though the leaders of major political parties BJD, BJP and Congress are blaming one another on Mahanadi water dispute, local issues seem to have emerged as key factors during the campaign for panchayat elections across western Odisha.
While issue of livelihood is a crucial factor in Balangir, it is dynastic politics in Bargarh and road connectivity, electrification, IAY and NFSA issues in some other districts. There are certain pockets where anti-liquor campaign is holding centre-stage and the BJP candidate in Rengali Zone-II in Sambalpur district has made ban on liquor as the main poll plank.
In her late 20s, Utpala Dharua, the BJP candidate in Rengali Zone II, has promised to ensure ban on sale of country liquor in Gomloi village.
Women of Durlaga, Burkamunda, Brundamal and Marakuta villages in Jharsuguda block and Bhatlaida in Laikera block of Jharsuguda district are seeking assurance from the candidates that they will ban sale of liquor. Threatening to boycott poll, hundreds of women of Durlaga on Monday walked down to the office of the Collector raising anti-liquor slogan and demanded action to stop illegal sale of liquor.
In Balangir, the villagers are demanding enrolment in various welfare schemes and livelihood opportunities. As the district is prone to large-scale migration and the beneficiaries are left out from the welfare schemes by virtue of they being outside the district during enumeration, they are asking for categorical assurance from the candidates to alleviate their economic condition.
There are also specific issues like drinking water, maintenance of village temples, rural electrification, inclusion in NFSA beneficiary list and connectivity which are going to be the deciding factor in the panchayat polls.