Bhubaneswar: With the elections just round the corner, the political temperature is gradually rising in Odisha. The State is witnessing hectic campaigning by Central leaders from several parities. In the process, three major parties – the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and its two arch-rivals the BJP and Congress are gearing up yet another round of show of strengthen today.
AICC President Rahul Gandhi will be visiting Odisha today. It will be his second tour to the State this year. He will address two public rallies one at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi District and another at Rourkela in Sundargarh District.
In his previous visit on 25 January, the Congress chief could not infuse much energy to boost morale of his party workers. Though Rahul tried to woo the voters with his same old song of farm loan waving, but hardly could it put an impact on the people as the Odisha Government has already rolled out a far-better and widely appreciated pro-farmer KALIA scheme. And Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s KALIA programme on the same day in Puri had overpowered the Rahul rally in the capital city.
The day before Rahul’s visit, Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das formally joined the BJD after leaving the Congress.
While the Odisha Congress is leaving no stone unturned to make Rahul’s second visit a grand success, the party is all set to receive a setback as another former Congress MLA Jogesh Singh from Sundargarh assembly constituency is expected to join the Naveen-led party.
As per sources, the BJD is planning a 'Maha Mishrana Parba' in the state capital to welcome the former Congress heavyweight.
Similarly, former BJP national president Nitin Gadkari is also visiting the State to have a meeting with party leaders. Gadkari’s visit comes ahead of incumbent BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to the State on February 15.
In the 2014 elections, the BJP could win just one Lok Sabha seat out of 21 and 10 assembly seats out 147. The party has been witnessing constant poll debacles in Odisha due to the dominance of the BJD, which has been in power in the State for the last 19 years.
Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “When Rahul Gandhi had come here last time, thousands of people had gathered at the meeting venue. The two meetings tomorrow will also be successful whatever hindrances may come on the way".
BJP leader Pradeep Purohit said that Congress is going to be obliterated in Odisha as several of its leaders have left the party and joined the BJD. In the coming elections, there will be battle between BJP and BJD in Odisha, he said.
He also expressed hope that his party will achieve the ‘Mission 120’ plus in Odisha.
Meanwhile, BJD spokesperson Pushpendra Singhdeo said that many leaders will come and go as it’s election time now. The ruling party is least bothered about it.
He further said that the Rahul’s Kalahandi visit will have no impact at all. Many leaders had visited the district in the past.
The people very well know who has worked for Kalahandi district and implemented good schemes and programmes. People at the grassroots level are being benefitted. Today Kalahandi has developed in all sectors, he said.
“These leaders are visiting the regions in western Odisha because they know that it is a bastion of the BJD. BJD’s organisation is strong there and this has scared these national parties.”
“In the upcoming election, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will once again come to power in the State with more votes. It is crystal clear,” Singhdeo added.