With only two days left for the much-awaited announcement from Pyarimohan Mohapatra on his political agenda, the BJD is all set to launch a counter-offensive from Berhampur on the same day where Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to address a public rally followed by one at Jagatsinghpur the next day.
The BJD’s rally will be held in the party’s pocket borough Ganjam district from where there are four ministers, including Naveen.
Sources said BJD’s ministers, MPs and MLAs from the area have been asked to make the rally a “grand success” by ensuring a congregation of more than 50,000 people.
While Naveen has already launched his district meetings in a bid to counter Pyari’s influence among the BJD workers and leaders, the latter had visited Sambalpur recently to meet his supporters at a Nuakhai Bhetghat organised by one of the trade union leaders. Naveen had addressed public meetings at Baripada and Koraput and made a whirlwind tour of his Assembly constituency Hinjili recently where he laid the foundation stones for more than 20 projects.
The Chief Minister inaugurated the flyover at Raj Mahal Square and a water supply project in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
Even as Naveen is on an inauguration spree, speculation is rife in the political circles here about the number of BJD MLAs and leaders who will attend the October 28 rally of Pyari’s Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM).
Morcha sources, however, said they are not emphasising on attracting leaders to the rally, but want the workers to attend it in large numbers. The OJM has taken permission from the Commissionerate Police to organise a rally of about 50,000 people at Lower PMG Square here. But there will be no public meeting.
Morcha sources further maintained that the Berhampur rally of the BJD is a ploy to divert attention from OJM’s announcement on that day.