The Opposition BJP and Congress have accused the ruling BJD of distributing cash among the voters through members of Self Help Groups (SHG), to woo voters in favour of them.
After a purported video of a woman distributing cash among other women surfaced on social media, many such videos have now come to the fore.
In the viral videos, many women admitted to have accepted cash of Rs 4,000 each through SHGs. However,they have accused BJD of distributing cash to only those who will vote for the party.
The SHGs supporting BJP and other political parties have been denied any kind of help and support from the government. They fear they would be targeted after the bypoll ends and the BJD comes to power in Dhamnagar.
Sasmita Parida, Coordinator of Binapani SHG said, “We came to know that CM Naveen Patnaik has given Rs 4,000 each for every SHG groups. When I asked why are not given the money while others are given, they said, the money is only for those who will vote for BJD.”
Similarly, Maa Laxmi SHG member Runarani Dash alleged, “They have given money to members of our group and asked them to betray us. They have given Rs 4,000 each. BJD has specifically selected them and given them money. When questioned, they say that they will not give us because we support BJP.”
This clearly shows that BJD does not trust its candidates, but depends on SHGs to attract voters.
Slamming the ruling party, Union Minister Biseswar Tudu said, “They literally have done no work in their 22 years of rule. Because most women members of SHGs are illiterate and do not understand politics, BJD is manipulating them and using them to gain votes. This apart, the voters are lured with liquor and other short pleasures. They are resorting to cheap techniques to win votes. But, I can say that they will never be successful.”
On the other hand, Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja said, “A few days back, a video had gone viral in which we can see money distribution through members of SHGs. This has been going on. They are using women to send money to every house and attract voters. They are giving Rs 2,000 each to every house. I strongly condemn such acts of the ruling party. It is clear that the popularity of BJD has ended.”
However, BJD MLA Pranab Balantaroy refuted the allegations and said, “Talking about SHG members, they have always been with BJD because our government is focused on the uplift of women in Odisha. Not only Dhamnagar, women across Odisha are great admirers and supporters of BJD and our CM Naveen Patnaik for his tremendous contribution to the state.
(Reported by Partha Sarathi Nayak, Rashmi Ranjan Das, Harihar Chand, OTV)