Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 2:
With just five more days to go for the polls to eight urban local bodies (ULBs) in Odisha, campaigning has reached fever pitch with the big guns of all three major political parties already stationed at the towns going to polls.
The top leaders, along with local candidates and party workers, are arranging rallies, meetings, door to door campaigns and mass contact programmes to win over voters.
BJP has fielded Union Minister Jual Oram, Vice-President Pratap Sarangi, Spokesperson and former president Suresh Pujari, local MLA Radharani Panda and Leader of the party in state Assembly Basant Panda for Belpahar municipality of Jharsuguda district and all the leaders are going gung-ho about the progress made by Bthe JP led union government.
“The USP of our party is that we do what we commit. Local MLA Radharani is a popular figure and the people know what she has done for the betterment of the people here in the past nine months,” said Union Minister Oram.
The Congress party has fielded local MLA Naba Das and G Udaygiri MLA Jacob Pradhan, who are targeting the large scale corruption made by the BJD government.
“A Chief Minister has been ruling the state for past 14 years. He has done nothing for the welfare of Belpahar. He was not able to get the town minimum infrastructure like drinking water, electricity etc. Now that the polls are here, the Chief Minister is so afraid that he himself came here and made as many promises as he could to lure the voters,” said Congress MLA Naba Das.
The BJD is also leaving no stones unturned to secure the ULBs and has fielded Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Bargarh MP Prabhas Kumar Singh, Anup Kumar Sai along with local strongman Kishore Kumar Mohanty who are highlighting the development programmes of the government in front of the people.
“We are trying to cover most of the wards and convening as many meeting as we can to reach out the people. We are telling them about the welfare scheme of the government and the things we will do to turn Belpahar into a model town. The people trust us,” said MP Singh exuding confidence.
Similarly, while Basant Panda is leading the campaign at Dharamgarh, Congress has fielded Bhakta Charan Das to supervise its poll preparation. BJD has deployed cabinet minister Pushpendra Singhdeo.
“The BJP is focusing on drinking water, distress sale of paddy the infrastructure issues etc. We are confident of support by voters,” said BJP’s Panda while Congress’s Das said “We are putting up a united fight for the betterment of people. The outcome of the polls will decide whether money-power and misuse of government power wins or the power of the common man.”
‘The BJD is the only party that believes in performance more than promises. We have been saying this to the public and have won over their confidence,” said BJD’s Singhdeo.
On the other hand, the Ranpur NAC polls, originally planned to be held along with the other eight local bodies, on April 7, has now been postponed by SEC (State Election Commission) to April 5 spawning a blame game.
While BJP’ Surama Padhi went all guns blazing against BJD accusing it of misusing state powers to escape the polls while the BJD attributed the decision to SEC.
“The ruling party became sure that they are about to lose this election. Afraid of the imminent loss, they illegally and undemocratically postponed the polls,” said Padhi.
“This is about the election and the election commissioner takes the call. He will be answerable for this. We have nothing to do with it,” said Rabi Narayan Nanda, Block BJD President of Ranpur.