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Pradeep Singh

In the last couple of months, Odisha witnessed a raining of sops with the State government claiming to benefit people from across sections and categories. However, the Opposition parties in the State have alleged that offering freebies ahead of Panchayat polls is one of several tools that BJD often uses to influence the gullible voters.

Senior BJP leader and Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi said, "The ruling BJD knows that wind is not blowing in their favour and the upcoming elections will take a toll on the party. Therefore, they kept on announcing a plethora of assistance packages for an entire month to lure the voters."

"People are not going to get influenced by these doles. It (sops) will not yield anything for the BJD in the Panchayat polls and the ruling party will get a befitting blow from the electorates," said Majhi while claiming BJP's victory in the rural body polls.

Odisha Congress spokesperson Prashant Satapathy lashed out at the ruling party stating that the last-minute announcements of sops will not help the BJD. "All these poll sops will not have any impact on the upcoming elections. People of Odisha are now well informed and they know what this government has done for them in the last 22 years," he said.

Satapathy further said if the State government had done anything for the people of Odisha, it would not have to announce a series of sops ahead of the three-tier Panchayat elections to woo the voters.

Hitting out at both the BJP and the Congress over allegations of announcements of sops with an eye on the rural polls, BJD MP Amar Satapathy said both Opposition parties should introspect first before pointing fingers at the Odisha government. "We will continue to do what is good for the people of Odisha irrespective of such resistance from the Opposition,” he added.

However, political pundits believe that the BJD has been quite successful in reaching out to people of all fragments. “The announcements of sops will definitely have a huge impact on the Panchayat polls. And, to counter the same, the Opposition BJP and Congress now need to come up with an appropriate narrative,” said political expert Akshaya Sahoo.

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