Bhubaneswar, Mar 4: The State Government was pushed into a major embarrassment on Thursday as the ruling party (BJD) MLA from Khandapada Soumyaranjan Patnaik said Odisha is witnessing a system of husband and brother-in-law governance across panchayats and women are yet to be empowered in true sense.
“Women are winning elections and becoming Sarpanches in the Panchayati Raj system. But they are sitting silent and their husbands and son-in-laws are enjoying all political power,” said Patnaik.
Patnaik’s statement has created a hullaballoo in the BJD circle across the State. His assertion assumes significance as he aired the "truth" on the eve of Panchayati Raj Divas.
“In reality, husbands and their younger or elder brothers are taking decisions on behalf of elected women PRI representatives. Women are yet to be empowered in true sense. The dream of Biju Babu for empowering women is yet to be translated into reality,” contended the ruling party MLA.
But Panchayati Raj Minister Pratap Jena has not accepted Patnaik’s assertion. “Women are working perfectly at gram panchayat level,” he said.
However, opposition leaders have termed the Patnaik’s statement as “very true”.
“Soumyabahu should make Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik know the truth,”Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik said, adding, “The process of women empowerment started during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government.”
He said the allegation of hubby ruling is always heard from Mahanga to Jajpur and from Mayurbhanj to Ganjam. Hubby ruling has been a system across the State, he alleged.