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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: With general elections approaching, political parties in Odisha have braced themselves to leave no stone unturned to woo voters. The case in point being ruling-BJD's plans to celebrate Nuakhai- an agricultural festival of Western Odisha - in a grand manner.

BJD has decided to celebrate 'Nuakhai Juhar Bhetghat' with great fervour from September 20 to October 2 in all the 34 Assembly constituencies of the western region.

"It's a moment of celebration for everybody in western Odisha. All the BJD legislators will make arrangements for the festival in their constituencies from September 20 to October 3 and we will attend the programmes," said BJD MP from Bolangir, Kalikesh Singh Deo.

However, questions are being raised about the motive of BJD because in its 18 years of rule, it never thought of such celebrations during Nuakhai.

Some believe that it's an attempt of the BJD to win the hearts of people as the party's organisation is not considered strong in the region and BJP skilfully exploited this vulnerability during the panchayat elections.

No wonder, the BJP and the Congress are alleging BJD of politicising the festival for vested interests.

"We have no objections if any organisation, individual or political party celebrates the festival, but if it is like a prayer in time of need, then it's not acceptable," said senior Congress leader and Bolangir MLA, Narasingha Mishra.

"The BJD failed to understand the rich culture and tradition of Nuakhai in 19 years; now that the elections are ahead and its prospects in western Odisha is looking dim, suddenly, it (BJD) remembered the festival," said BJP's Padampur MLA Pradeep Purohit.

He further said that the BJD is scared as it once tasted defeat in the region during the panchayat polls and is now trying to fool people through Nuakhai celebrations.

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