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Odishatv Bureau

The Odisha unit of the Pradesh Congress Committee has announced a high-level party panel to begin spadework in view of the forthcoming three-tier panchayat elections in the State.

OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik has asked the committee to prepare a report on how to strengthen the party's panchayat and municipal units from the grassroots to district level for the polls likely to be held next year.

Senior Congress leader Jagneswar Babu has been appointed as the convenor of the committee while its other members are Uma Ballav Ratha, Manoranjan Das, Deo Prasad, Kailash Sahoo.

The state Congress unit's move comes just a day after the Odisha government announced to declare 4,000 more hamlets in the state as revenue villages ahead of the next year's elections.

According to the new guidelines, hamlets with a population of 250 and above and situated at over half-a-kilometre away from the mother village will be accorded a revenue village status.

While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has approved a proposal of the revenue and disaster management department for streamlining the process, the Opposition has alleged that it may create more posts of sarpanch and panchayat samiti members before the panchayat polls, bringing more electoral benefits to the ruling BJD.

Earlier this month the BJD had also reactivated its district units for the rural body elections. Speculations are also rife that the BJD government may also effect a shuffle in the machinery to make way for strengthening the organization. 

Meanwhile, the BJP which has been preparing its strategy to repeat its unprecedented performance during the last panchayat elections has also begun to flex its electoral machinery moving.

The Odisha unit of BJP targeted the electoral body of acting at the behest of the state government in intentionally not making any announcement for Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls even though the same has not been held for the last 3 years.

The party has warned that it will be forced to knock doors of the Orissa High Court if the SEO does not take steps to conduct elections to ULBs

While experts say that the rural boy elections may get delayed due to the Covid pandemic effect, the State Election Commission (SEO) however recently informed that it has initiated steps to conduct panchayat elections.

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