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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Chief ministers, ministers come as political tourists: Naveen Patnaik takes dig at BJP

On Friday, Union home minister Amit Shah, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chhattisgarh chief minister Vishnu Deo Sai and Bollywood and Mathura MP dream girl Hema Malini campaigned party’s candidates

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 18.05.24, 10:05 AM
Hema Malini with BJP’s Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha candidate Aparajita Sarangi.

Hema Malini with BJP’s Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha candidate Aparajita Sarangi. Picture by Ashwinee Patia

Odisha is gearing up for the fifth phase of election and the BJP is pulling out all stops to ramp up its performance in the Lok Sabha with an eye on the 400-seat mark.

Aware that this cannot be achieved without breaching the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) fort, top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have stepped up their campaign in the state.

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On Friday, Union home minister Amit Shah, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chhattisgarh chief minister Vishnu Deo Sai and Bollywood and Mathura MP dream girl Hema Malini campaigned party’s candidates.

Taking a dig at the BJP, BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik said: “This time there are some chief ministers and Union ministers, who come as political tourists only at the time of elections and then they disappear. Their speeches have no effect on the people of Odisha. And it’s most unfortunate that many of them use derogatory and abusive language. I never believe in doing that and the people don’t, here in our state, appreciate such language.”

Earlier, Naveen also termed the BJP’s claim of coming back to power as a “day-dream” and made it clear that they won’t be able to come back to power in the next 10 years in Odisha.

Odisha had never seen such a large number of BJP leaders rushing to the state for campaigning. While the BJD has termed them as “political tourists”, the BJP leaders are confident of winning all the 21 Lok Sabha seats and forming a party government in Odisha for the first time. Currently, the BJP has eight Lok Sabha members, BJD 12 and Congress one in the state.

At Rourkela, Union minister Amit Shah appealed to the people to bring double-engine government for fast development in the state and ensure that BJP cross the 400-seat mark. Shah exuded confidence that the BJP will more than 15 Lok Sabha and 75 Assembly seats in Odisha.

Hema Malini visited Odisha’s biggest slum Salia Sahi in Bhubaneswar.

The BJP has put names of 40 members, so far about a dozen leaders from different states have visited Odisha, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president J.P. Nadda, Union ministers — Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and S. Jaishankar.

This month the Prime Minister has already visited the state twice and addressed meetings at Bargarh, Balangir, Kandhamal, Nabarangpur and Berhampur and held a road show in Bhubaneswar.

Modi is scheduled to visit the state on May 19 and participate in the roadshow in Puri on May 20, to give a push to the party’s prospects in the coastal belt. “Choosing Puri for the road sends a message that BJP would work for the development of Puri which is attached to Lord Jagannath, Odisha’s presiding deity.” said a political analyst.

The BJP plans to rope in Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who enjoys considerable clout in the state, for campaigning. The BJP leaders are also hopeful that Odisha is going for a change after Modi announced that the new BJP government would be formed on June 10.

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