He is not leaving any stone unturned to ensure proper relief distribution and restoration works

With the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls scheduled to be held early next year, Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik has started taking steps to maintain his government’s popularity as well as strengthen the BJD to retain power for the fourth consecutive term.

As many districts had been affected by the recent cyclone and consequent floods, the Chief Minister is not leaving any stone unturned to ensure proper relief distribution and restoration works to cope with the people’s anger over faulty relief distribution.

Even as the administration tried hard to cope with the situation in the aftermath of the twin calamities of cyclone and flood, and another round of flood following incessant rains, the affected people had resorted to protests demanding relief.

Such was the level of dissatisfaction among the people that Mr. Patnaik did not go for more field visits of worst affected Ganjam district after he faced the anger of the affected people when he went there soon after the cyclone.

The Chief Minister kept reviewing the relief and restoration operation on a regular basis to ensure that relief should be distributed without any disruption. The administration in the badly hit regions, however, was not able to deliver the goods primarily due to shortage of manpower and experts.

Packages

With the intent pacify the people in the cyclone and flood affected areas, the Chief Minister has already announced various packages, including one month additional pension of Rs. 300 for about 21 lakh pensioners in the districts affected by the cyclone and floods. More populist measures were likely to be announced in the near future, according to official sources.

As Mr. Patnaik continues to maintain his efforts to keep the people at large in good humour, he is also making efforts to rope in some disgruntled leaders of Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party, particularly in western region of the State at an early date, according to sources.

The BJD, which was not having a strong support base in western Odisha, was worried since the lawyers of that region started demanding establishment of a permanent bench of the High Court in their region a few months ago. Further, elections were also going to be held in as many as 22 urban local bodies in western Odisha in the near future.

According to political analysts, Mr. Patnaik was exploring all options to strengthen the BJD organisation ahead of the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls as speculation was rife that the non-Congress and non-BJD parties in the State were planning to form an alliance to take on BJD and Congress in the next polls.

With little chance of the BJD rejoining hands with the BJP, Mr. Patnaik may also make his party enter in to seat sharing arrangement with other like-minded parties in the the coming polls.