With elections to the state Assembly set to be announced next week,politicians,cutting across party lines,are scurrying around for new seats. The reason: delimitation of more than 50 per cent of the 147 seats and abolition of a Lok Sabha seat. While election to the state Assembly will be held in April-May along with Lok Sabha polls,delimitation of constituencies has hit the fortunes of 52 MLAs and a couple of MPs. The BJD tops the list of those affected by delimitation with 22 of its existing MLAs looking for new seats,while the BJP and Congress have 13 MLAs whose political future depends on the whims of their party high commands. The districts where delimitation has caused maximum havoc are Mayurbhanj,Jagatsinghpur,Ganjam,Cuttack,Kalahandi. Among those who stand to lose their constituencies are Energy Minister Surya Narayana Patro,Health Minister Sanatan Bisi.
Season of strikes
Strikes seemed to be the flavour of the week. Last week,health services in three government medical college and hospitals were partially affected as 350 house surgeons began an indefinite strike demanding an increase in their monthly stipend. Soon after,40,000 havildars,constables and sepoys of the state police under the banner of Orissa Police Havildar Constable and Sepoys Confederation threatened to go on mass casual leave demanding pay revision. And now,assistant engineers of three private power distribution companies NESCO,WESCO and SOUTHCO of the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Energy are threatening to launch an agitation if their demands for improved promotional avenues was not fulfilled.
State still the poorest
BJD chief Naveen Patnaik may be eyeing a record third-term as the CM,but he should brace up for questions from voters on why the state continues to languish at the bottom of all development indices. The Economic Survey 2008-09 shows that the state is the poorest in the country. It said 39.9 per cent of the states population lived below the poverty line in 2004-05,followed by Bihar at 32.50 per cent. The survey cited recurring natural calamities,uneven economic growth,lack of irrigation facilities and quality infrastructure as reasons for large scale poverty in the state. In the health sector too,the state continued to lag behind with death rate in the state during 2007 at 9.2 as against an all-India average of 7.4.