SAMBALPUR: The ruling BJD and Opposition BJP have intensified their election campaign for the ensuing Panchayat election while, electioneering by the Congress is yet to gain pace. The three major political parties have fielded candidates in all the 18 Zilla Parishad (ZP) seats.
Sambalpur district comprises four Assembly segments including Sambalpur, Rengali, Rairakhol and Kuchinda. While Sambalpur is completely urban Assembly seat, there are five ZP zones in Rengali, seven seats in Rairakhol and six ZP seats in Kuchinda.
The BJD is leaving no stone unturned to win maximum ZP seats and grab the post of ZP president in the district. Sitting BJD MLA of Rengali, Ramesh Patua has been given responsibility for the constituency while MLA, Rohit Pujari has been entrusted the job for Rairakhol. Bhatli MLA, Susanta Singh of neighbouring Bargarh district has been given responsibility for the ZP seats in Kuchinda as it is represented by BJP MLA Rabi Naik.
Meanwhile, the party has roped in popular BJD leader of Kuchinda and president of Odisha Kendu Patra Karmachari Sangha, Bijay Mohanty, who is also the party observer for Sundargarh Assembly constituency, to campaign in Kuchinda and woo Kendu leave pluckers.
Similarly, the party has appointed former MP, Rabi Pani as observer for the constituency. Even as the party has not appointed any observer for the Rairakhol constituency, Pujari will have to face an uphill task as locals are not satisfied with his performance over the past two years, political observers said. The BJD also plans to rope in senior BJD leaders and Odia film stars affiliated to the party for campaigning.
On the other hand, national BJP secretary, Suresh Pujari and district BJP president, Ramchandara Meher are campaigning for the party candidates in the district. The BJP is harping on failure of the BJD led State Government in the last 17 years and development undertaken by Modi Government to garnber votes. Meher said Union Ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan besides, State BJP president, Basanta Panda will campaign in the district soon.
For Congress, none of the senior leaders of the party have visited the area yet. Campaigning is being taken care of by district president, Sureshwar Mishra. OPCC president Prasad Harichandan and Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra will campaign in the district, the district president said.