Bhubaneswar, Apr 12 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik on Monday campaigned for his party candidate for the Pipili Assembly by-election, Rudrapratap Maharathy.
The polling for the Pipili by-election is scheduled to be held on April 17, which incidentally happens to be the 23rd death anniversary of Biju Patnaik, on whose name the ruling party is formed and ruling over Odisha since 2000.
'The people of Pipili always have remained with the Biju Janata Dal, which indicates their (people) love and affection towards Biju Babu and Biju Parivar. We are going to observe the 23rd death anniversary of Biju Patnaik on April 17,' Patnaik told the people of Pipili while addressing them through virtual mode.
The Pipili assembly segment is considered a strong fort of BJD as its nominee Pradeep Maharathy was elected consecutively from 2000. However, Maharathy's demise in October, 2020 necessitated the by-election in Pipili.
While seeking votes for Maharathy's son, the BJD president also preferred to give thrust on his party's vote bank - women - who have all along stood by the party in all the previous elections.
During his interaction with the voters of the Pipili segment from Bhubaneswar through virtual mode, Patnaik made a special appeal to women to come out in large numbers and exercise their franchise on April 17, the death anniversary of Biju Patnaik.
'Be it the farmers' issue or welfare of the poor, Odisha has made a mark for itself at the national-level. The mothers of Odisha are leading several projects under Mission Shakti. This is a major achievement in the direction of women empowerment which the party has always stood for,' Patnaik said.
Appealing to the voters to vote for the conch symbol of the BJD, the chief minister said he would personally look after the development of the Pipili-Delang area.
Patnaik said he would have been happy to physically go to Pipili to meet the people, but for the COVID-19 situation.
'As COVID-19 restrictions are in place I am not able to go to meet you. I know many of you will assemble if I visit Pipili, which is not in accordance with the COVID-19 protocol,' he said.
'I do not want anyone to be harmed because of me during the coronavirus time. Therefore, I came before you through video conferencing,' Patnaik said.
Patnaik also did not forget to make people aware of wearing face masks while going outside including to the polling booths.
During his entire speech, Patnaik never mentioned the name of any rival party including BJP or name of any leaders except talking of Biju Patnaik, women, Mahatma Gandhi, who stayed in Pipili area for seven days during his visit to the state 100 years ago.
Meanwhile, BJP's Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi during the day campaigned for party candidate Ashrit Pattnayak and raised questions on the 'no development' of Pipili-Delang area which is located barely 25 km from the state capital.
Sarangi alleged that the people have not got the assistance for the damages during the 2019 Fani cyclone and angwanadi workers are frustrated for not getting their dues.
She further alleged that even the women self help groups are not getting credit links and therefore unable to make progress due to negligence of the BJD, which has been governing the state for over two decades. PTI COR AAM RG RG