BARGARH: As the date of by-poll for Bijepur Assembly segment gets closer, campaigning by the three major political parties - BJD, BJP and Congress - has intensified.
A day after Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan campaigned for party nominee Ashok Panigrahi, Union Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar visited Bijepur on Tuesday and addressed public meetings at Bandhpali, Jalpali, Sadhupali and Barpali besides participating in road shows.
Accompanied by State BJP president Basanta Panda, Jayanarayan Mishra and Panigrahi, Gangwar tried to connect with people, particularly the weaver community, by recalling the attack on his convoy allegedly by BJD supporters when he had last visited the district in 2016 as Minister for Handloom. He informed that the Centre considers providing collateral free loan to weavers, but the State Government is not interested in it.
Gangwar further said during his last visit, he had come with the motive to bring about economic growth of weavers, but the State Government did not allow him to do so. He said time has come to give a strong reply to the Naveen Patnaik-led Government in the State and strengthen BJP to take forward the development agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, BJP has roped in two of its star campaigners and cine artistes Mihir Das and Mahasweta Ray, who recently joined the party, for electioneering in Bijepur and Gaiselet blocks respectively. Earlier, the BJP had brought in cine actor Sritam Das for campaigning. The BJD is also not far behind in using its star power in electioneering. Cine stars and MP Anubhav Mohanty and MLA Akash Das Nayak besides Arindam Roy are camping in the Assembly segment and campaigning for party candidate Ritarani Sahu extensively.
Congress nominee Pranaya Sahu is also campaigning in Barpali block accompanied by former Union Minister Srikant Jena, Pradip Majhi and former ministers Kishore Patel and Prakash Chandra Debata. Debata, who represented the erstwhile Melchamunda Assembly segment for record five terms, has mass support base in the district.
Top cops review law and order
Bargarh: Top police officers, headed by Director, Intelligence, Sunil Ray, reviewed the law and order situation in the district in the run-up to Bijepur by-election scheduled on February 24. The meeting was also attended by IG CRPF Kamal Kant and IG BSF A K Singh. They also took a stock of the Maoists and their activities in the district. According to sources, three companies of CRPF and two of BSF will be deployed for the by-poll, besides normal security arrangements by the police. SP J N Pankaj had been asked to act tough against those trying to disrupt law and order situation to ensure free and fair polls. Among others, IG Operations R P Koche, IG, Law and Order, Amitabh Thakur, IG Northern Range, Sushanta Nath, Commandant SOG, B C Pradhan and Balangir SP K Siva Subramani were present.