Bhubaneswar: Out of power in Odisha since 2000, Congress in the state has started the process of following Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, whose pre-poll modules resulted in party’s victory in recent assembly elections. Visits of Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel to Odisha twice in last one week and his cabinet minister T S Singh Deo on Sunday assumed significance as the Pradesh Congress Committee plans to replicate the success in Odisha. It is also planning to invite some leaders from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to learn their experience and strategies.
A day after reaching Bhubaneswar, Singh Deo accompanied Congress state president Niranjan Patnaik and working president Chiranjiv Biswal to Jagatsinghpur district on Monday where they consulted people of all walks of life to prepare the party’s manifesto. Though Niranjan and committee chairman Ganeswar Behera have been touring different districts for past few weeks and receiving feedback of people for preparation of the manifesto, Singh Deo’s assistance will help fine-tune the manifesto, said a party insider. He informed that Singh Deo played a key role in preparation of the poll manifesto in Chhattisgarh.

“Interactions with farmers, college students, teachers, lawyers, auto drivers, doctors, nurses and ASHAs in Jagatsinghpur brought back memories of my own meetings with these groups in Chhattisgarh. The manifesto consultation process has redefined norms of public participation,” Singh Deo said, adding, “The purpose of my visit is to share my experience and thoughts with the Odisha Congress.”

During the public consultations, college students demanded a university, farmers sought loan waiver, better MSP on paddy and quality seeds, weavers raised issues like finance and market linkage, doctors demanded better infrastructure, lawyers pitched for social and financial security and teachers sought enhanced salary.

Niranjan said the party will adopt the poll strategies of the three states in Odisha and include genuine demands of people in the manifesto.

“Baghel ji accompanied party president Rahul Gandhi to Bhawanipatna on February 6 and again toured Nuapada district on Sunday. At both places, he highlighted how the Congress fulfilled the promise (loan waiver) made to farmers immediately after forming the government,” Niranjan said.

“Seeing the best practices in other states, the people of Odisha will also trust us. Congress already announced to waive farm loan, give solar pumps and extend financial assistance for five years to farmers if voted to power in Odisha,” Niranjan added.

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