BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is likely to campaign for urban local body (ULB) polls at Paradip and some other places despite optimism in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) camp about the outcome.
Sources said though only two days remained for campaigning to end, the Chief Minister is likely to canvass for votes for party candidates on the last day on April 5. Official sources, however, maintained that the tour schedule of the Chief Minister is yet to be finalised and he may not even campaign this time.
Meanwhile, the State Congress stepped up its campaign with a rally at Paradip. Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan and senior leaders attended the rally.
Unlike previous times, Congress seems to be united with all senior leaders pitching in for electioneering. While Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra campaigned for party candidates at Rairakhol and Belpahar ULBs, senior leader Kishore Chandra Patel is camping at Belpahar.
Besides, former Union ministers Giridhar Gamang and Bhakta Charan Das are also campaigning for party candidates at Sunabeda and Dharamgarh respectively.
BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma maintained that the party’s performance will be better this time compared to earlier elections. He said senior leaders are camping at different ULBs to campaign for party candidates.
Meanwhile, election to Ranpur NAC has been postponed and will be held on May 5. Filing of nomination papers will be held between April 13 and 18. Scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on April 20 while April 23 has been set as the last date for withdrawal of nomination. Counting will be held on May 6.
The State Election Commission (SEC) has sought a report from Nayagarh Collector on postponement of polls. Elections were postponed because of irregularities in seat reservation. Polls to Ranpur NAC was scheduled to be held on April 7 and was postponed following Nayagarh District Magistrate’s report that reservation status of Wards has been published wrongly by the election officer.
Elections will now be held in Balimela, Sunabeda, Rairakhol, Paradip, and Belpahar municipalities and Dharamgarh, Tusara and Daspalla NACs on April 7.