Bhubaneswar, April 3: The battle for the state’s tribal heartland intensified with BJD president Naveen Patnaik today making a whirlwind visit to Kalahandi and Nuapada districts for the second time within a span of four days.
BJP’s Narendra Modi will address a meeting at Nuapada tomorrow and AICC chief Sonia Gandhi will visit the area the next day. Sonia will also visit Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts on April 10.
Naveen, accompanied by his party candidate for the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat, Arka Keshari Deo, today hit the campaign trail by addressing a meeting at Khariar block in Nuapada district. Later, he addressed a series of meetings at Jaipatna in Lanjigarh Assembly segment and also in Dharmagarh, Bhawanipatna and Narla constituencies.
Naveen’s visit to Lanjigarh assumes significance as the Vedanta’s alumina refinery is located in the constituency. Despite the state government’s support to the project, it is facing a problem after the Centre denied mining of bauxite from Niyamgiri. However, Naveen remained silent on the issue and talked of the overall development of the state.
Significantly, in his one-day visit to Nabarangpur on March 31, AICC vice–president Rahul Gandhi had recalled how he fought along with the tribals to save the Niyamgiri hills.
“In Niyamgiri, the Congress stood with you. We together saved the hills,” he had said.