Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 28:
With less than two weeks left for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha, no major political party- including BJD, BJP and Congress- has released its manifesto yet. This underscores the growing irrelevance of such pompous documents that make tall promises during the poll campaign, only to be consigned to the dustbin sooner than later.
Although the parties claimed to be going through the exercise to prepare and release their manifestos, politicians of the three major parties are uncertain over when that would happen.
The ruling BJD had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Finance minister and party vice-president Prasanna Acharya to prepare the manifesto for the ensuing polls. The party had also set a self proclaimed deadline – March 25- to release the manifesto. However, Acharya is now busy to grappling with his new constituency Bijepur, after he was shifted out of Redhakhol.
Besides, chief minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik, the only real star campaigner for the party, has already hit the campaign trail from his home constituency two days ago and is likely to remain preoccupied with canvassing support for his party candidates across the 10 Lok Sabha constituencies.
While politicians are known to promise to build bridge over non-existent rivers, it seems the ruling party feels it has nothing left to promise the people because it has done everything already. It is another matter that most of the promises it made since it came to power in 2000 are a far cry even after 14 years.
“The committee is deliberating on various issues and will release the manifesto soon. Once all the leaders including Acharya and the convenor Arun Sahu come to Bhubaneswar, the committee will decide on the date of release of the manifesto ,” said a member of the committee.
A similar situation prevails in the Congress camp. The party had also constituted a committee under the chairmanship of former chief minister Giridhar Gamang and also held its first meeting. But, then it all ended there as the internal squabbling over ticket distribution overtook the party.
“The party has forgotten to release the manifesto for public. While desertions continue in the party even now, dissatisfaction among the party leaders is growing following irregularities in ticket distribution. Nobody is interested to look at stuff like the manifesto,” said a Congress leader.
Of course, the AICC has released the Congress manifesto for the entire country but is meant for the Lok Sabha polls,and has little to say specifically about Odisha.
The state BJP, which is banking heavily on the so-called ‘Modi wave’ to do well and even come to power in the state, is also yet to release its manifesto.
Even though the party is launch its state-wide poll campaign in the next two days, it has not yet formulated what will go into its bag of promises for the Odisha voters, if at all it is voted to power.