Naveen babu is BJD’s lone ranger in OrissaApril 21st, 2009 - 11:44 am ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, April 21 (IANS) Clad in a white kurta and slippers, he has been attending 11 to 14 public meetings every day in the searing heat of the Orissa summer. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik knows he is the only star campaigner for the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
With the second and final phase of simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state to be held Thursday, Patnaik is the BJD’s lone ranger even as the rival Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are campaigning with dozens of well-known faces.
“Patnaik is attending at least 11 to 14 public meetings every day,” a senior BJD leader told IANS.
“Our candidates want only Naveen babu and he is trying to go to each and every assembly and Lok Sabha constituency where we are contesting.”
Patnaik hopes to retain power in the state for a third term despite ending an 11-year alliance with the BJP last month.
At his rallies, where he inevitably turns up clad simply in a white kurta and hawai chappals, he has been targeting the Congress and the BJP, accusing them of neglecting Orissa.
“Only the BJD - a regional and secular party - can give a stable and corruption-free government here,” Patnaik, the one-time jetsetter and the son of the legendary Biju Patnaik, told an election rally in the port town of Paradeep.
He has been accusing the BJP of fomenting communal tension, referring to the anti-Christian violence that flared in the state last year.
The first phase of elections was held last week for 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats. Voting for the remaining 11 Lok Sabha and 77 assembly seats will take place Thursday.
The BJD has left three Lok Sabha and 17 assembly seats to the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
But the national leaders of the new allies are only campaigning in the constituencies where they have fielded candidates with BJD support.
In a way, Patnaik is the only well known face of the BJD while Congress leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and BJP’s L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj have campaigned in the state.
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Tags: assembly seats, babu, bharatiya janata party, bhubaneswar, biju, bjd, bjp, communal tension, communist party of india, communist party of india marxist, election rally, jetsetter, kurta, lok sabha elections, lone ranger, national leaders, nationalist congress party, naveen patnaik, sabha constituency, secular party