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Naveen ventures out to boost image

- Eye on elections, chief minister on trip across state

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 16: BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik has a packed tour programme till the end of February. He has been making frequent visits to various parts of the state and even attending college functions to boost his public image ahead of the elections.

If he continues to go at this pace, by the end of February, he will have touched almost all the 30 districts.

The tour blitz began in the New Year with Naveen visiting a number of places either to lay the foundation stone for bridges or roads. During the tours, he even takes personal care to strengthen party units at the district level. The flurry of visits is reminiscent of Naveen’s whirlwind tour of the state ahead of the 2009 Assembly elections.

“Naveen’s visit would certainly boost the party’s chances in the concerned constituencies. Besides, it also helps build unity among the leaders in the wake of Pyari Mohan Mohapatra’s unsuccessful coup bid against the chief minister. A series of programmes have been finalised for the chief minister,” said government chief whip and party’s returning officer Pravat Tripathy.

Almost all the MLAs are keen on the chief minister visiting their areas and have been making queries with their respective district administrations about the projects awaiting inauguration. “Once we know about it, we will line up the programme, and accordingly, the chief minister can visit our constituency,” said an MLA.

Naveen frequently visits Ganjam, as his constituency comes under the district. Now, he has started visiting other parts of the state to dispel the impression of being partial.

Though Naveen did not celebrate the New Year’s eve this year as a mark of respect for the Delhi gang-rape victim, he went to Puri to have a darshan of Lord Jagannath. The next day, Naveen announced the implementation of the Odisha Public Rights Act, empowering people to get specific public services within a fixed time frame.

Even his daily routine has changed. Earlier, Naveen used to avoid leaving home before 11am. However, he now comes out before that. Today, before going on a one-day visit to Puri district, he came to Rama Devi Womens’ College in the city in the morning and interacted with the students. Yesterday, he visited the BJB College and attended the college union function.