KORAPUT: Setting aside the poll boycott threats issued by the Maoists, two MPs began their poll campaign for the BJD in the sensitive blocks of Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon in the district on Tuesday.
Berhampur MP Siddhanta Mahapatra and Koraput MP Jhina Hikaka reached Narayanpatna to campaign for Zilla Paishad candidate Lalit Narayan Parida.
Addressing a gathering of over 5,000 people, the MPs urged the people to cast their votes for development of the State and said only the BJD can fulfil their demands. They said that in the last 16 years, Naveen Patnaik-led BJD Government has introduced tribal welfare schemes to uplift the downtrodden. Amidst tight security arrangements, they toured the areas and interacted with the people.
Last time, the zone was reserved for a tribal candidate and a Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) candidate was declared elected uncontested. She was the deciding factor for Koraput Zilla Parishad. Later, she supported the BJD candidate for chairperson election.
This time, the zone is reserved for Other Backward Class candidates. Over 30,000 voters of nine panchayats would exercise their franchise for Narayanpatna ZP.
Six aspirants, including three Independents, are in the fray. They are Lalit Naryan Parida (BJD), Sarita Sapan Turuk from the Congress, Biro Pondu from the BJP, K Chaya Raju (Ind), Abhimanyu Sahu (Ind) and Ramesh Pradhan (Independent).
Police had a tough time ensuring security in the district which had recently witnessed death of eight policemen in Sunki landmine blast.
Police had maintained SOP 24 hours ahead of the campaign programme. Sources said BSF personnel were deployed at Laxmipur, Narayanpatna, Bandhugaon, Sorpali and Kumbari. Prior to the entry of the leaders, almost all the culverts were checked with metal detectors to avoid untoward incidents.