Naveen to meet grass root leaders ahead of Amit Shah’s visit

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of BJP president Amit Shah’s proposed meeting with booth-level leaders of Odisha in April, BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is set to meet grass-root leaders as part of post-panchayat poll review.

“The party president would meet grass-root level leaders starting from Sarpanch, Samiti members and Zilla Parishad members. The exercise would start from Jajpur district on April 2,” said BJD spokesman Amar Prasad Satapathy.

Asked if Patnaik’s meeting with grass root level leaders was called in the wake of Shah’s proposed interaction with booth level leaders sometime in April, Satapathy said, “Patnaik will only discuss on how to make people aware of various developmental programmes of the Government.”

He said Patnaik would meet grass root level leaders of various districts on different dates.

On April 2, the BJD chief would meet leaders of Jajpur district first and then those of Koraput district.

No MLAs or MPs would be present in those meetings.

Patnaik, who for the first time invited grass root level leaders for discussion, will enquire reasons of defeat of BJD candidates in certain areas, party insiders said adding that he was worried about the party losing around 180 Zilla Parishad seats in the recent Panchayat election.

Though the BJD claimed that party candidates have captured about 72 per cent of the state’s 314 blocks and maintained its status of being the single largest party in Odisha, the leadership was worried as BJP has won 297 Zilla Parishad seats in this year’s rural polls compared to its previous performance of 36 Zilla Parishad seats in 2012.

Party insiders said Patnaik was expected to know from grass root level leaders on how BJD could improve and why BJP rose substantially in Zilla Parishad level.

The regional party is in power since 2000.