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Pradeep Pattanayak

With the final list of candidates being published, symbols allotted and a clear picture of the Panchayat Polls emerged, the candidates, who had been a bit sluggish hitherto, seem to have got charged up. They seem to be leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters. 

In Pindiki Panchayat under Mohana Assembly constituency in Gajapati district, Debananda Nayak was spotted putting up his posters on walls on Wednesday. Nayak is a Samiti Member candidate and his symbol is ‘Kettle’. Following confirmation of his candidature, Nayak started his campaigning. Surrounded by followers, he has been going around the villages, seeking votes. “I am a two time Samiti member. I have been associated with people’s problems. This time, I am visiting from house to house to garner support,” said Nayak.  

Similarly, Hemant Sethi, a Samiti member aspirant from Mathura Panchayat in Ganjam district who is contesting on ‘Fish’ symbol, is seen visiting from door to door with folded hands. Satyabhama Behera, a BJP-backed Sarpanch candidate of Gopinathpur Panchayat in Balasore district, is pulling out all the stops to ensure her win. During campaigning, she is seen with Gayadhara Behera, a Zilla Parishad candidate contesting on a BJP ticket. Yet, some other candidates are busy finalizing their strategies. 

“The wave is in our favour. If we win, we will try our level best to solve people’s issues,” said Gayadhara Behera. 

A Samiti member candidate for Rohigaon Panchayat, Sanatan Sangram Singh said he is giving priority to campaigning. “After receiving my symbol, I have placed orders to get my banners and posters printed. After getting them, I will start my campaigning,” said Singh.     

These days, flex printing and press units in Berhampur are running off their feet. They are working round the clock to meet the deadlines as the candidates are in no mood to lose vital time for campaigning. The candidates from Rohigaon and Bahalajhuli Panchayats of Kukudakhandi Block in Ganjam district have been visiting these units to get the banners and posters with their photos and symbols printed on those. 

The three main political parties- the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress- have meanwhile finalized their calibrated strategies to ensure victory of their candidates. 

All the three parties have decided to make most of social media platforms like FaceBook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter etc. They are making short videos of their candidates. To reach out to voters, they are getting songs and slogans recorded, highlighting the successes of their respective parties and failures of the oppositions. 
The BJP is mulling on coming out with a manifesto, pledging to make the Panchayati Raj system free from corruption. “The BJP’s manifesto will publish tomorrow. Our focus will be to give people a corruption free Panchayati Raj system. And all the points required to take development to the grass root levels are featured in the manifesto,” said general secretary of BJP, Prithiviraj Harichandan. 

The Congress is contemplating fighting the elections by making the failures of the Central and State governments as the main issue. “Barring a few, we have fielded our candidates from all most all the seats. We are hopeful that we will perform well,” observed senior Congress leader Sarat Pattanayak. 

The ruling BJD is not lagging behind in the race. The party is fighting the elections on the strength of its developmental projects launched in villages. “Before elections, parties issue manifestos, promising people stars and moon. People known it very well that the promises made by other parties are nothing but hollow. They know it is BJD which always tries to keep its words. Our work is our manifesto,” boasted BJD MLA Debi Prasad Mishra.

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