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Heavyweights don battle gear
Parties launch biggies in election ring

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 3: All the three major parties — BJD, BJP and Congress — today launched their campaigns with heavyweights visiting various wards across the city.

BJD chief Naveen Patnaik today launched a road show from Rasulgarh after garlanding a statue of Biju Patnaik at a youth club named after the veteran leader, while BJP state president K.V. Singhdeo started his padayatra from Khandagiri. BJP poll co-ordinator Biswa Bhusan Harichandan visited Ashok Nagar.

Congress leaders, led by Union minister Srikant Jena and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena, launched their attack on BJD at a public meeting at Old Bus Stand. Subhankar Sarkar, general secretary All India Congress Committee in-charge of the state, also spoke on the occasion.

Naveen toured areas such as Rasulgarh, Mancheswar Industrial Area, Bhotapada, Chakeisiani, Naharakanta, Pandra, Palasuni and GGP Colony within a time span of two hours and waived at the supporters who had gathered in huge numbers on the roadside. At Chakeisiani, he requested the voters to vote for BJD candidate Nirmal Chandra Rout.

Bhubaneswar North MLA Bhagirathi Badajena said: “My constituency, which comprises 25 wards, also have some major slums. The tour by the chief minister will definitely motivate the voters, especially in the slum pockets.”

Badajena also said the chief minister’s road show would continue till January 6, which happens to be the last day for poll campaign. While the campaign by the party chief will continue in wards under the Bhubaneswar (Central) Assembly constituency tomorrow , it will cover Ekamra on January 5 and on the last day again the Bhubaneswar North Assembly constituency respectively.

During the padayatra, BJP today released its manifesto in which rainwater drainage, sanitation, mosquito menace, sewerage, health-care delivery, education, markets, security, houses for poor, conservation of historic Bindusagar lake and the present council’s inefficiency to spend central assistance were discussed.

Congress leaders also attacked the BJD and highlighted its inefficiency in managing the funds for the urban poor, failure of low-cost housing provision under Rajiv Aawas Yojana. Slow pace of development of public transport system and renovation of natural drainage channels under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewal Mission funds were also discussed. Congress is likely to release its manifesto for the BMC elections tomorrow.

Candidate detained

Cops detained a Congress candidate contesting in ward No. 5 at Mancheswar police station today. Though police officials said that they had detained Suryamani Rout after getting intelligence reports that he and his supporters would create disturbance in the chief minister’s poll campaign in the area, Rout alleged that he was detained by the police who are working at the behest of the BJD.

“Today, we are supposed to visit Sriram Nagar slum, Chakeisiani and PHD Colony for our poll campaigning. I received a call from the police to be present at Mancheswar police station and when I reached the police station, they forcefully detained me,” alleged Rout.

The police, however, released Rout after chief minister’s programme came to an end at Rasulgarh Pala Mandap in the evening.

LGBT poster

Members of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) today alleged that BJD supporters had removed their posters from Rental Colony in ward No.15 in the city and assaulted them.

They also lodged a complaint with Nayapalli police today and threatened that if action were not taken against the culprits they would launch a state-wide campaign against the BJD. The police said investigation was on to ascertain the veracity of the allegation.