Politicos brace up for Sept 19 urban polls

Bhubaneswar: As countdown for the municipal elections started with the announcement of poll schedule by State Election Commission on Monday, major political parties in the State have started smelling poll victory.Not only the ruling party, but the main oppositions, Congress and BJP are too optimistic of winning maximum seats in the polls to 91 urban local bodies including Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC), scheduled to be held on September 19. The Congress seems to be more jubilant after it won 20 seats of the 42 wards in the newly formed Attabira (Bargarh district), Hindol (Dhenkanal) and Nuapada NACs, where polling was held in April.
 
The BJD is also hopeful of retaining power in almost all municipalities, NACs and BMC while lead opposition Congress is leaving no stone unturned to garner public support by raising various drawbacks of the government.
 
Political observers feel, the Congress would woo voters with Congress-led UPA government’s pro-people programmes including the recently announced food security bill. Though it is being dubbed as UPA’s vote-getting scheme, the party would put forth the issue of reduction in BPL rice quota. The Congress party, which has already launched a state-wide FIR campaign against the BJD government for reducing BPL rice quota, seems to jump into urban poll battle holding it as the main weapon. It has also planned to take Centre’s Rajiv Awas Yojana for the urban poor to the voters. PCC sources said, the party would give priority to the youths who have much loyalty towards high commands.
 
“Candidates especially youths who have retained complete loyalty on Congress high command, would be given top priority in the urban polls. If we choose right candidates, then we would definitely win the elections,” PCC president Jayadev Jena said.
 
Second opposition BJP, which is keen to focus on party’s humanitarian ideology, would go to polls with issue of price hike of essential commodities and rising crime graph in Berhampur city. “The selection of candidates is going on in district levels and those who are much dedicated for the cause of common  people would be given emphasis in the polls”, BJP state general secretary Suresh Pujari said.
 
Since popularity of Gujarat CM and BJP top brass Narendra Modi is increasing day by day, as claimed by the saffron party, it would certainly cash in on ‘Modi Mantra’ in the upcoming elections. The failure of the State government in different sections would also be apprised to the voters, party sources said.
However, the ruling BJD too has tightened its grip to retain power. “The list of candidates has been prepared and we are ready for the polls. We hope to obtain more than 75 percent seats in the municipal elections”, BJD vice-president Kalaptaru Das said.