Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 8:
The newly floated Aama Odisha Party (AOP), which is all set to contest the ensuing elections with the ‘pot’ symbol, is still non-committal on an alliance with other political parties, including the BJP. Party president Soumya Ranjan Patnaik today made it clear that the AOP will go to polls on its own, but added a rider that no one can predict the future in politics.
“I have not talked with any political party personally regarding alliance and seat sharing. However, there is no problem in discussing with other parties. But as things stand now, we would go to polls on our own,” Patnaik told media persons after addressing a rally of women celebrating the International Women’s Day.
Replying to a question on how many seats the party will contest, Patnaik said, “Since there is shortage of time, we will try to reach maximum people and contest as many Assembly seats as possible. However, we will try to contest all the parliamentary seats.”
Patnaik, who addressed his first public meeting after the announcement of the election schedule and the allotment of the ‘pot’ symbol to AOP, said women’s safety would be the major poll plank of his party.
“Democracy will not be successful unless women participate in the process. Democracy will be successful only when women can move around freely even at night,” he said.
Giving a call for a change at the Centre as well as in the state and offering AOP as an alternative, the AOP president lashed out at the state for not providing security to women in the state, resulting in increasing cases of rape, molestation and murder of women. He gave the instances of the Bebina and Itishree cases and urged the people not to vote for the ruling party in the coming elections.
While education in the state was in complete disarray, there was no security for women in the state. Families of victims of rape and murder have been sought to be silenced through monetary compensation, the Editor of ‘Sambad’ said.
He said the rich forests and mineral resources of the state had been ravaged over the years by various companies, but there had been no development in the state. The state had seen precious little on the development front despite the rich natural resources it had been endowed with, he added.