Bhubaneswar: With the Election Commission of India (ECI) announcing July 20 as the date for elections for the Patkura Assembly seat in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, the ruling BJD and the Opposition BJP and Congress have revved up campaign for their candidates.
BJD president Naveen Patnaik had convened a meeting at his residence, Naveen Niwas, on Monday morning to chalk out a strategy to ensure the BJD’s victory in Patkura.
Among others, senior BJD leaders Ranendra Pratap Swain, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Kishore Tarai, Susanta Singh and Sanjay Agarwal, the son of the Patkura BJD candidate Sabitri Agarwal, attended it. Talking to mediapersons after the meeting, Sanjay said the meeting discussed the issues of Garadpur and Marshaghai panchayats.
Asked about the infighting in the BJD in these two panchayats, he said there is no discontentment among the party members.
“The party supremo has asked Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak and Ranendra Pratap Swain to remain in charge of Marshaghai and Garadpur panchayats respectively. I am sure that the BJD will have a massive win from these two panchayats,” he said.
Asked about the Congress’ preparation for the ensuing election, party chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said his party has not fallen behind in the race. Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik has gone to Delhi to discuss this with the central leaders. “It has been decided that a team of senior leaders will go to Patkura very soon,” he said.
Asked about his party’s prospects in the election, Bahinipati said the Chief Minister was very concerned about Patkura, as it remains a matter of pride for him. He is thus holding regular meetings with his party leaders and workers to ensure his party’s victory. “But the Congress is not afraid to contest the Patkura seat. As the people of Patkura are fed up with the tacit understanding between the BJD and the BJP, they will cast their votes in favour of the Congress,” he said.
BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said his party workers have already begun working in all panchayats and booths in Patkura. “Considering the mood of the people, I am quite hopeful that the BJP will emerge victorious,” he said. Central leaders, he said, will campaign for their candidate Bijoy Mahapatra. Besides, two Union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi, will also devote their time to Patkura.
Reacting to Bahinipati’s statement, Harichandan said that Congress leaders, who are yet to know who their leader is, and whose members have started quitting the party, should refrain from issuing “ridiculous statement” and at least make efforts to put up a semblance of respect for their party in this election.