Suryakant Jena

With the Panchayat elections just a handful of days away, campaigning by candidates seems to have reached fever pitch in Odisha. 

Here is a contestant in the fray in Rayagada district who has listed out his poll promises to work for the development of people in writing, that too on a stamp paper, while seeking votes from the electorate.

Sources said the residents of Kantabanji village in Kodipari Panchayat of Rayagada district recently warned to boycott the Panchayat elections alleging that they have been deprived of even basic amenities like drinking water and roads.

The villagers accused, from the local authorities to top administration in the district, of not taking sincere steps in addressing their issues. They also alleged lack of provision for houses under government schemes and denial of old-age pension to them. 

With elections around the corner, when the villagers announced to boycott the polls, Zilla Parishad candidate Rinki Nayak who is fighting as an independent candidate came forward with assurances that she would take all possible steps to resolve the grievances of the people. 

To drive home her point, Rinki reportedly laid down her promises in writing on a stamp paper. The local residents meanwhile have announced that another meeting will be held to decide on the poll boycott call.

Congress meanwhile has said that it will take active steps to resolve the issues faced by the villagers.

"Government welfare schemes seem non-existent for us. When elections arrive, leaders throng in multitude to our village with rosy promises but as soon as the polls end, no one ever bothers to come," rued an elderly resident Krikit Majhi.

Similarly, ZP candidate Rinki Nayak said, "I have requested the villagers not to reject their right to vote. It does not matter whether I lose or win, but I will always stand by the people through their thick and thin."