Opposition BJP and Congress in Odisha have raised questions over the timing of the BJD government’s decision to regularise services of contractual employees ahead of the November 3 bypoll to Dhamnagar assembly constituency.
The saffron camp termed the move by the Naveen Patnaik-led dispensation as “pre-bypoll drama”, while the Congress alleged that the state government abolished contractual hiring to secure votes for the ruling BJD.
“The BJD government takes such decisions when there is an election. This is part of a pre-bypoll drama. The ruling party is facing difficulties in the poll-bound Dhamnagar assembly segment,” said Leader of Opposition J N Mishra of the BJP.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on Saturday announced that services over 57,000 contractual employees would be regularised. The decision, which will entail an additional Rs 1,300 crore per year, was taken at a cabinet meeting. Mishra alleged that the BJD government had been trying to rectify the mistake it made since 2013 by appointing employees on a contractual basis.
Senior Congress leader and Jatani MLA Suresh Routray also questioned the timing of Patnaik’s announcement. “Why did the government not make such a decision earlier? It is now clear that the BJD dispensation has regularised services of contractual employees to get votes,” he said.
Former Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Jayadev Jena said it is “a trick played by the BJD to woo young voters and win the Dhamnagar by-election”. BJD MLA S B Behera denied the allegations, and said it is unfortunate that opposition parties have been trying to politicise the matter when 57,000 families across the state have welcomed the decision.