Pradeep Pattanayak

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in Odisha targeted the ruling BJD dispensation on Saturday over sarpanches being sidelined in developmental works taken up under the ‘Ama Odisha, Nabin Odisha’ scheme. 

Each and every Panchayat is receiving Rs 50 lakh for developmental work under the scheme. But what has raised the hackles of the BJP and the Congress is that sarpanches are being bypassed and proposals are not being passed through grama sabhas. 

While the BJP alleged that the BJD is using ‘Ama Odisha, Nabin Odisha’ as its election campaign machinery, the Congress said the scheme is to woo voters. 

“They (the BJD) are using the scheme to further their campaign. People should be allowed to take decisions as to what developmental work their village requires. The BJP will gherao blocks across the state from November 14 to 18,” said BJP spokesperson Dilip Mallick. 

Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said, “The panchayats are not getting money. Nor are the sarpanches being consulted. It means the ruling party is trying to woo voters using the government money.”
Responding to the statements of the BJP and Congress leaders, BJD MLA Arun Sahoo said, “This is an innovative step. He has been discharging the duties the Chief Minister has entrusted upon him.” 

Earlier in the day, the sarpanches of Mayurbhanj district not only boycotted the ‘Ama Odisha, Nabin Odisha’ meeting but also took a swipe at the government. 

“The people’s representatives are being ignored. The proposals should be routed through gram sabhas. But, it has been sidestepped. As per the decision of the State Sarpanch Association, we won’t extend cooperation to ‘Ama Odisha, Nebin Odisha’,” said Lokeswar Nayak, coordinator, Mayurbhanj District Sarpanch Association.

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