Pradeep Pattanayak

This Panchayat elections in Odisha is witnessing a phalanx of young and highly educated people in the arena, trying their luck in grass roots politics. The new crop of politicians, all believer of the saying, ‘action speaks louder than words’, share a common objective of serving the society. 

Till a few days ago, checking the tooth of her patients used to be a routine for Lipika Majhi, a dentist by qualification. Now Lipika is a Zilla Parishad aspirant from Zone No-2 of Papadahandi block in Nabarangpur district.
Lipika works in a Bhubaneswar based private hospital. Her other identity is she is the daughter of senior Congress leader Bhujabal Majhi. Needless to say, she is contesting on a Congress ticket. 

Lipika says the love and affection of the innocent tribal people of her locality drew her into the politics, and not her political background.
“I want to work for the common people. The strong desire has propelled me to join politics,” says Lipika to prove her point. 

Like Lipikai, Pragyan Paramita Jena has also joined the grassroots level politics. A second year MBA student, Pragyan has tremendous faith on herself. “I have grown up seeing a dream to do something for the society. And this is why I am now in politics,” she says. 

On a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket she has filed her nomination from Zone No-35 of Balasore district. While she is a follower of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, MP Pratap Chandra Sarangi is grounding her in all the details of politics. 

This election is also witnessing some candidates who have resigned from their lucrative jobs in foreign countries only to serve their birth places. Ratikanta Panda is a case in point. Panda is a software engineer and was working abroad. The desire to serve his fellow brothers and sisters made him decide to fly back to his own land and join politics. He has filed his nomination from Zone No-2 of Tentulikhunti block in Nabarangpur district. He is contesting on a BJD ticket. 

“If I win, my first priority would be to streamline the education system. I would also work on how farming productivity can be improved,” says Panda. 

Similarly, Santosh Pradhan, who is a Congress candidate and has filed his nomination from Zone No-30 of Brahmagiri Block in Puri district, is an IT professional, working in Bangalore. 
When asked what drew him into politics, Pradhan replies, “Obviously, to serve the society. I think a young and educated youth can serve the society more efficiently. It doesn’t matter whose government is at the Centre and whose dispensation is in the State. What matters a lot is that the proper implementation of their schemes and yojanas. And it will be possible only when the grass root level leaders are young as well as educated.”

Among them all, ex-Zilla Parishad president Jyotirekha Nayak has become the centre of attraction ever since she filed her nomination not for Zilla Parishad but the Sarpanch post of Odhasingh Panchayat of Salepur block. Regarding her decision, she says her own Panchayat is lagging far behind in terms of development and her prime objective is to bring it on par with others.

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