Patnaik on marathon campaign, addresses 4 back-to-back poll rallies

Rourkela/Sambalpur, May 15 (PTI) Contrary to the high-decibel campaign by top leaders of rival BJP in Odisha, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, ruling BJD president and Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has been silently leading from the front, emblematic of a “one man army” against the saffron party’s well oiled propaganda machinery.

Accompanied by his close aide V K Pandian, Patnaik on Wednesday addressed four election meetings during which he took feedback from the people on the welfare schemes implemented by him.

All his speeches were confined to a maximum of seven to 10 minutes.

“If you feel I am a good person, then bless me and vote for the conch symbol twice, one for the MP election and the other for the MLA election,” Patnaik told the rally, brimming with people only to have a glimpse of their five-time chief minister.

The BJD supremo is considered the tallest politician in this eastern state since the day of his entry into politics in 1997, following the demise of his father Biju Patnaik.

The rally at Rourkela under the Sundergarh Parliamentary Constituency, and three other meetings at Chendipada, Deogarh and Athamallik, under the Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat witnessed huge gatherings.Not attacking any of his rivals by name, Patnaik communicates in a soft and suave manner.

His speeches usually start by invoking Lord Jagannath and end with the phrase ‘Bande Utkal Janani’ (hail motherland).

“The opposition leaders are telling lies and shedding crocodile tears for the people of Odisha,” Patnaik said at all the four meetings he addressed during the day.

“Being gentle in words and action is his style. Through this sober behaviour, Patnaik won the hearts of 4.5 crore people and ruled the state for 24 years. Though BJP leaders have made personal attacks on him, Patnaik has kept mum and ignored them,” political analyst Sandeep Mishra said.

In all the meetings on Wednesday, Patnaik spoke his mind without taking a dig at anyone.

He has guaranteed free electricity for 90 per cent of people of the state from July 1, and also promised that the flagship Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) would be extended further.

He said the government employees will also get the benefits of the BSKY if he takes over the government after June 4.

Patnaik, however, at the meetings under the Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat asked the rival BJP about the ‘Achhe din’ (good days) as the prices of all essential commodities have spiralled during the last 10 years.

Patnaik also did not forget to remind people about his government’s other schemes like Mission Shakti, Mamata Yojana, Laxmi Bus and Kalia.

Meanwhile, Pandian took a dig at the opposition leaders and accused them of visiting the state during elections like tourists.

“They make false promises and leave,” he alleged.“After the election, they are no longer seen, while our CM is always with the people,” Pandian said.

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