Opposition sees red as Odisha govt seeks to book prime billboard spaces

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the 2019 elections, a political tug of war has begun over Odisha government’s move to book hoarding posts across Odisha.

In a letter to all district collectors, the Information and Public Relations department has asked the officials to reserve hoarding posts in urban local bodies, panchayats and major congregation places in rural areas.

Official sources said such move to book billboard space has been made to highlight the achievements of the Odisha government.

The letter also reads that the spaces will mostly be used for various Information Education & Communication (IEC) activities to sensitise people about the ongoing programmes, schemes, activities, achievements and welfare measures of the State government to ensure participation.

However, opposition parties have termed such ‘advertisement strategy’ of Odisha government as a publicity stunt just to strengthen its own vote bank ahead of the general elections.

PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik in a tweet had alleged that such measures are clearly wastage of public money.

“At present there is absolutely no space to put up hoardings as all spaces have been booked by the BJD. It is just to ensure that no other hoarding other than the ones bearing a picture of Naveen Patnaik is allowed. Through this, the government is trying to publicise its achievements on public money,” said Patnaik.

Also Read: BJP targets Odisha govt over ostracised man carrying dead body on bicycle

BJP leader Golak Mohapatra stated that “There is not even an inch of space as BJD plans to put up posters of CM Naveen Patnaik everywhere. All such spaces would be subsequently used during elections.”

BJD leaders on the other hand clarified that as several schemes including Biju Swasth Kalyan Yojana, plastic ban, own Food Security Act would come to effect from October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti), such a step has been taken to make people aware about the welfare schemes.

“All welfare schemes need to be publicised so that people can get maximum benefits. Creating unnecessary politics over it is absolutely unjustified,” said BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra.