Pradeep Singh

Considered the bellwether of the high-stakes Panchayat polls in Odisha, all the three major political parties in the State seem to be getting into election mode by leaving no stone unturned to corner each other. 

While politics seems to be in full swing at the moment in the State, both the BJP and ruling BJD along with the Congress will have to align all their stars in the firmament properly to turn the electoral wave in their direction.

The BJP has been firing PMAY graft salvo at the ruling-BJD apart from staging protests against the party for the hike in electricity tariff and frequent power-cuts. The Pradesh Congress Committee is hitting out at both the BJP and the BJD over the continuous rise in fuel prices for the past several months.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, the BJD is currently focusing on strengthening the party organisation ahead of the Panchayat polls to thwart all the attempts of the opposition parties to woo the rural voters in the State.

The BJP today staged protests and demanded withdrawal of the hike in electricity tariff. "At a time when other states are charging Rs 4.80 per unit from domestic consumers, Odisha is charging Rs 5.70 per unit for the same. The Central funds are being misutilised here. We demand the State government to withdrew the hiked power tariff immediately," said Bhrugu Baxipatra, State BJP vice-president.

The Odisha BJP today kicked off a week-long protest across the State which will culminate on July 20. During the period, the BJP workers will stage protests in front of all electricity offices across the State. Besides, the State youth wing of the party has decided to take out candle light march from July 16 to July 20 at all district headquarters in the State.

The Congress also took out cycle rallies in Bhubaneswar protesting the increase in fuel prices. The women wing of the party staged protests over increase in LPG price. The party too extended its support to the 12-hour Odisha bandh called by the Left parties in the State.

The State Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik appealed to people to cooperate in the fight against the hike in fuel and other essential commodities’ prices.

On the other hand, the BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik chaired a meeting (virtual) with party leaders and workers of some districts on Tuesday and directed them to focus on highlighting the welfare projects of the Odisha government and also helping people during this COVID crisis. He also reportedly directed them to work towards strengthening the party at the grassroots level and be prepared for the Panchayat polls.