BJD govt playing ‘PEETHA politics’ to woo rural voters: Opposition

Bhubaneswar: A day after the Peoples Empowerment-Enabling Transparency and Accountability of Odisha Initiatives (PEETHA) scheme was launched by the BJD government, opposition parties slammed the scheme alleging that it is not a step for inclusive development but another political ploy of the ruling party to woo rural voters and divert the attention of public from the actual issues plaguing the State.

Coming down heavily on the BJD government’s ‘propaganda’ that the PEETHA scheme will help creating awareness on different panchayat-level schemes of the State government in the rural belt, the BJP and the Congress today alleged that the sole purpose of the Naveen Patnaik-led government is to keep the innocent mass of the villages in dark and win their votes.

“This is just a programme meant to promote the failed government schemes. The scheme is a propaganda which aims to garner votes in rural areas and it will have no effect,” said Congress leader and former Union Minister, Srikant Jena.

“The anti-incumbency has been growing against CM Naveen Patnaik across Odisha and in order to cover that up, the programme has been introduced,” said Odisha BJP general secretary, Prithviraj Harichandan.

On the other hand, Senior BJD leader and MLA Mahesh Sahoo, while responding to the allegations said “If involving the public in any scheme or programme is a stunt to woo voters for elections, then the opposition parties too can take up such schemes. No one has stopped them from doing so.”

Earlier today, a high-level preparatory meeting to chalk out the blue print of PEETHA scheme, a sub-scheme of Ama Gaon Ama Bikas Yojana, was held at the State Secretariat in Bhubaneswar today.

Senior officials including Development Commissioner Asit Kumar Tripathy were also present at the meeting to discuss about the implementation of the scheme.

“The State Government has made many beneficial programmes for the people. In order to implement it in an organised way at the panchayat level within three months, the CM launched the PEETHA scheme yesterday,” said Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi after the meeting today.

Camps will be organised at gram panchayat level from 15th to 20th of every month as a part of the programme.

“Various benefits including LED bulbs, old age pension and artist pension among others will be distributed at the camps. Besides, awareness will be created among the people about other government schemes,” informed Panchayati Raj department Secretary, Deoranjan Kumar Singh.