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Star power on election street
BJD show draws crowd

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 5: The BJD has unleashed its star power making a final push for victory in the forthcoming civic polls here.

Reigning superstar Anubhav, yesteryear’s matinee idol Uttam Mohanty and actor-turned-MP Siddhant Mohapatra have hit the campaign trail seeking support for BJDcandidates here.

Riding an open jeep decked up with conch-emblazoned flags, the Balunga Toka star drew crowds in Rasulgarh and GGP Colony. Fans fell over one another trying to shake hands with him. The BJD candidate for ward No. 19, Chitranjali Baliyarsingh was over the moon. So were her supporters.

“For us, all the party leaders are same. We shout our slogans with equal enthusiasm but for the voters, getting to see cinestars in person is a rare occasion. Obviously, the enthusiasm is more in the supporters,” said a young BJD worker.

Anubhav, who usually moves around with bodyguards sporting black round neck T-shirt with “I look like Anubhav” legend, was today encircled by party workers who had conch tattoos on their face and green headband.

“Even an actor is a voter and has certain responsibility towards betterment of the society and development of the city,” said the actor, who recently got engaged to long time girlfriend actress Varsha Priyadarshini. Talking about his immense popularity and huge turnout, he said: “It is not my magic, but the magic of the party.” He had joined BJD last year.

Siddhant was first among the cine stars to jump into the campaign in the city. On Saturday, he started the campaign from ward No. 19 in Rasulgarh and then carried out the promotion of his party candidates in several other wards and sought vote for them.

A BJD insider said that Siddharth visited a slum in ward No. 61 where people were against the party. It was only after his attempt that the slum-dwellers assured him to support the BJD. Seeing the slum-dwellers as the real decision makers in the corporation polls here and that the Odia film stars have a huge fan following among the low income group people and the slum residents, the BJD is using these actors who have also been give party membership strategically.

“The BJD has done a lot of development work for the people. The good works done everywhere in the city is the unique selling point of the party and we are telling the residents about this. I am sure people will vote for BJD candidates,” said Siddharth.

The huge crowd gathering at the venues where Siddharth and Anubhav are campaigning says volume for the decisive roles they are going to play for their party. BJD candidates believe that they would definitely win this time.

“The clean image of our leader Naveen Patnaik, development works done during his period and the campaigning by film stars are the things that will attract voters,” said Chitranjali Baliarsingh, BJD candidate for ward No. 19.

On being asked if the actors who are usually busy with their shoots are aware of issues bothering the people in their ward, former school and mass education minister Pratap Jena, who accompanied Anubhav during today’s campaigns, said: “We may or may not be aware of the specific problems of every ward. We are here for the party.”

Jena also credited the work done by his party for the surge in crowd. “Congress and BJP also have celebrities, but none of them are as big as Siddhant or Anubhav. So, many people have gathered not just to see the actors, but out of the appreciation for the party they believe in,” he added.

Yesteryear superstar Uttam Mohanty also joined the campaigning for the BJD today. He rallied around Shiripur. Another popular face, comic actor Pappu Pom Pom, who has been busy with shooting, would take up the mantle on the last day of campaigning.