Ahead of the Panchayat polls due early next year, the ruling BJD on Sunday launched a “Jan Sampark Padayatra” to highlight the state government’s welfare programmes and the alleged “anti-Odisha” stand of the Centre on Mahanadi river water and Polavaram issues.
The month-long mass contact programme to be carried out across the state was kicked off by Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik at Samantarapur Nuagaon area in Bhubaneshwar on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. The padayatra proramme is aimed at informing people about state government’s welfare programmes and also the Centre’s “neglect” particularly on the Mahanadi river and Polavaram issues, Patnaik said.
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“Our padyatra programme for one month has begun so well,” he said. State tourism Minister Ashok Panda said the padayatra, launched in Ekamra Assembly constituency in presence of the chief minister and other senior leaders, was not just confined to the march, but would be turned into a “Sankalp Yatra”. The march would be undertaken for a month by the party leaders in every block and panchayat throughout the state for which 147 party observers have been appointed. Apart from highlighting the Mahanadi river and Polavaram issues during the programme, the ruling party would also tell people about alleged reduction in flow of Central funds to Odisha, senior BJD leaders said.
Meanwhile, in an apparent bid to counter BJD’s mass contact programme, BJP also organised “Lajja Satyagrha” at sub-divisions in the state to attack the Patnaik government over alleged collapse of law and order machinery, health-care sector and transportation.