Opposition slams ‘PEETHA’, calls it a stunt to woo voters in 2019 elections

Bhubaneswar: While the State Government is busy organising camps in various gram panchayats across the State as part of its Peoples Empowerment – Enabling Transparency and Accountability of Odisha Initiatives (PEETHA scheme), the Opposition parties have slammed the programme by terming it as a political stunt of the ruling-BJD to woo the rural voters.

Many sarpanches, bureaucrats and ministers participated in the camps that were organised in various panchayats of Bolangir, Dhenkanal, Ganjam and Cuttack districts today.

Similar camp was also set up at Barapudugia panchayat under Sadar block of Bolangir district today where traditional ‘peethas’ were distributed to the beneficiaries while the locals were made aware of the various individual and social welfare schemes of the government.

Steel and mines minister Prafulla Mallick took part in the PEETHA camp at Rai Narasinghpur under Kamakhyanagar block in Dhenkanal district.

The PEETHA camps will be organised till 20th of this month where beneficiaries of schemes like AMA LED, Mission Shakti, Madhu Babu Pension Yojana and Artist pension, Nirman Yojana will be provided assistance. “I had been applying for Artist pension since a long time but could not get the benefits. The government included me as a beneficiary in the camp here,’ said an artist.

On the other hand, Union Petroleum Minister and senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan ridiculed the scheme and termed it as a ‘stale PEETHA’. “This is not a ‘peetha’, rather it is a stale ‘peetha’ which is filled with corruption of percentage commission (PC). The Odias will throw the stale peetha in Bay of Bengal,” criticised Pradhan.

Targeting the ruling party, the Congress also said that the scheme is a disrespect to the Panchayatiraj system in the State. Protesting the scheme, Congress has also decided to observe December 26 as a ‘Black Day’.

“On one hand, Odisha government is showing its keenness to provide social security through various beneficial schemes while on the other it has not included any sarpanch, or members of Zilla Parishad and panchayat samiti in the programme. This is a ploy to befool and disrespect the Pachayatiraj system in Odisha,” said Congress spokesperson, Sudarsan Das at a presser today.

Similarly, Leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said all the schemes are poll-oriented and meant to woo voters. “They are only limited to pen and papers and are not reaching the needy,” alleged Mishra.

Responding to the allegations, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra commented, “Let the Congress beautify its own home (resolve infighting) first. Then if it gets any leisure time, it should talk about development in Odisha.  This type of comment from the Congress is misleading as per the party’s principles.”

“When CM Naveen Patnaik launched the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, the Opposition was saying the same thing that the scheme will not reach the masses. But with the scheme benefiting crores of people across the State, the Opposition is shut. When PEETHA scheme will yield similar results, they will automatically shut their mouth,” said BJD’s Cuttack Barabati MLA Debasish Samantaray.