BHUBANESWAR: Even as reservation of seats for the rural body polls are set to be finalised on October 30, the BJD has decided to gradually shift its centre of activities to the panchayat headquarters across the State. As per the party’s strategy, its senior leaders and observers will focus on panchayats from where all poll activities will be conducted.
As the notification for the panchayat elections is likely to be issued by December-end, the ruling party has decided to complete all preparations by then. “Observers and district in-charges will start touring areas under their jurisdiction once the festive season is over,” a senior BJD leader said.
Sources said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is likely to lead the campaign for the panchayat polls. However, it is yet to be decided whether the campaign will be conducted virtually or physically. A senior leader said a decision will be taken on the issue taking into account the Covid-19 situation.
The Chief Minister has already visited five southern and western Odisha districts for launch of distribution of Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart health cards. As the BJD is going to make the smart health card initiative a major campaign issue in the rural polls, the Chief Minister is likely to visit one or two coastal districts for launching the programme.
Besides preparing the grassroots organisation for the polls, the party will have to counter BJP’s aggressive campaigning. The BJD has already completed constitution of ward level committees. BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra said the aim of the party is to reach out to every family with the State government’s welfare measures.
“The party will launch a positive campaign and woo the voters through work done for the people,” he added.Out of the 854 zilla parishad seats for which polls were held in five phases in 2017, the BJD had won 473 and the BJP 297. The Congress had to contend with just 60 seats.