Even as the Odisha State is minting revenue in crores from the mines like Gorumahisani, Badampahar and Suleipat, the Mayurbhanj district still displays the story of scores of non-descript villages that cry for potable water, pucca roads and electricity.
As per the Odisha government's own data released in 2020, over 62 percent of streets in the villages of Mayurbhanj have no lights. Over 43 percent of villagers have no bus services to the nearest city. Nearly 14 percent of villages have no pucca roads. A massive 69 percent of the villages have no irrigation facility. Over 52 percent of villages have no drainage.
Only 11 percent of villages have their own drinking water source. A massive over 83 percent bank on government constructed handpumps/tubewells and taps, which go dry during summer months.
Above all, in 7 percent of villages, not a single household has access to electricity. Irate villagers in Kaptipada Block had even resorted to protest for non-supply of power, despite metering the households.
In such a pathetic BSP (Bijli, Sadak, Pani) syndrome in the tribal-dominated district, BJP, which had delivered a shocker to the ruling BJD in 2017 by grabbing 49 seats vis-a-vis 5 by BJD and one each by JMM and Independent, has the ammo to torpedo the BJD.
Ground reports suggest that with the schemes like Saubhagya Yojana (free electricity to poor households), Jal Jeevan Mission (tap water to every household) and PMGSY (pucca road to every village) etc in its armoury, the BJP is working hard to pin down the ruling BJD.
The Poll Arithmetic
Despite Odisha Revenue Minister Sudam Marandi, who belongs to Mayurbhanj district, fighting a tooth and nail battle with BJP to reverse the fortunes of the ruling BJD, the former seems to be ahead in Karanjia, Baripada Sadar in his home constituency of Bangiriposi.
The ruling party is also banking big on the large network of SHGs in the district. Data shows a total of 3382 SHGs are operational in 3751 villages.
The ground data, however, suggests that BJD seems going strong only in Sukruli. But the ruling party is facing headwinds in Kaptipada, Morada, Udala and other Blocks. Data suggest BJP vote bank is 4-5 percent higher than BJD in a majority of the Blocks in the district. Given the large gap, and with a poor show in BSP on the ground, the BJD seems not in full gear to give BJP a run for the money.
Mayurbhanj Panchayat Election 2022
Around 66 percent of the villages in the district are tribal-dominated, whereas over 28 percent are non-tribal. Nearly 5 percent of villages in the district are un-inhabited.
In this version of the Panchayat elections, a total of over 17.6 lakh rural voters will cast their ballots in the district. The district will see over 1.2 lakh voters exercising their franchise for the first time in 2022 rural polls.
With first-time voters constituting over 7 percent of the total electorate, the aspirational issues and basic minimum needs will determine the voting pattern.