Cong poll weapon: Funds misuseStatesman News Service BHUBANESWAR, Jan 7: Misuse of Central funds by the BJD-BJP government will be the major poll plank for the Congress in the ensuing panchayat elections said AICC general secretary Mr V Narayanswami here today. Addressing a Press conference Mr Narayanswami, who is AICC general secretary in charge of Orissa said that people in the districts were fed up with the Naveen Patnaik government’s dismal performance. Crores of rupees allotted by the Central government towards backward districts and the poor are lying unspent and the little that has been spent is being misappropriated, he charged. He reeled out figures of utilisation certificates not being sent to the Centre and alleged that only 35 to 39 per cent of the money allotted had been spent. Under panchayati raj department alone, the utilisation certificates for at least 1,700 crore has not been sent he said. The AICC general secretary also accused the state government of trying to usurp credit of Central schemes by misleading people to believe that it was a state scheme. He referred to improper implementation of NREG, Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Programme and the Central health scheme etc. Mr Narayanswami, who addressed pre-poll meetings in Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Nawarangpur and other districts recently alleged that the ruling BJD-BJP combine was misusing official machinery. At some places, the district-level officers were acting according to the dictates of the ruling party men, he charged. He said the OPCC will draw the attention of the Election Commission to the gross violation of model code of conduct. The AICC leader said the Congress will demand establishment of a university in KBK region and name it after Sahid Laxman Nayak.
Asked about possibilities of the Congress entering into an alliance or understanding with any other political party for the panchayat polls, he said a meeting of the OPCC will be held on 9 January to discuss such issues. Interestingly, the AICC general secretary made an issue of the Urmila Rout suicide case and said there were a lot of loose ends to the suicide. The women’s wing of the Congress has been on dharna in front of Raj Bhavan demanding a CBI probe into the death, he said. Mr Narayanswami said he had been informed that the lady had died close to the residence of a BJD minister and she had also attempted suicide inside the room of the minister last year. All such aspects need to be probed, he added. Meanwhile, the Mahila Congress activists put up banners demanding immediate action against the minister and a CBI probe into the incident.