Naveen to spearhead BJD campaign, Pandian number two in star campaigner list

The party has released a list of 40 star campaigners for first two phases of polls in state
VK Pandian with Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.
VK Pandian with Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.(File photo)

BHUBANESWAR : The BJD on Saturday released a list of 40 star campaigners for the first two phases of elections in the state. Party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will spearhead the campaign like every election he does.

Chairman of 5T initiatives and Nabin Odisha VK Pandian, who has been slotted at no.2 after Naveen, will campaign for the party candidates for the first time. Trusted lieutenant of the CM, the bureaucrat-turned-politician had taken VRS last year to join BJD.

The third in the list is organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das. While Das is contesting from Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency, Pandian is not contesting this time. The list of campaigners included seven ministers and 10 former ministers.

The ministers, who have made it to the list of 40 for the first two phases, are Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment minister Ranendra Pratap Swain, Science and Technology minister Ashok Chandra Panda, Health and Family Welfare minister Niranjan Pujari, Industries, MSME and Energy minister Pratap Keshari Deb, Higher Education Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Panchayatiraj and Drinking Water minister Pradip Kumar Amat and Skill Development and Technical Education minister Pritiranjan Gharai.

The party has attempted to showcase its commitment to field a diverse and experienced team of campaigners for the elections by including several sitting and former MLAs, Lok Sabha MPs, Rajya Sabha members and former MPs in the list of campaigners, who are expected to play significant roles in the campaign strategy.

Prominent among them are former Union Minister and Berhampur MP Chandra Sekhar Sahu, Nabarangpur MP Ramesh Chandra Majhi, Rajya Sabha members Sasmit Patra, Manas Ranjan Mangaraj, Niranjan Bishi, Mamata Mahanta, Muzibulla Khan and Sulata Deo.

Similarly, former ministers Debi Prasad Mishra, Pratap Jena, Arun Sahoo, Sanjay Das Burma, Sushant Singh, Padmanav Behera, Sarojini Hembram and Snehangini Chhuria also feature in the list. Cuttack mayor Subash Singh, former MP Rabindra Kumar Jena and former Rajya Sabha member N Bhaskar Rao will also campaign.

Among the sitting MLAs, Sudhir Kumar Samal, Pranab Balabantaray, Byomakesh Ray and Devi Ranjan Tripathy are also in the list. The party has also declared several ticket aspirants including Shreemayee Sweta Snigdha Mishra, Bijay Nayak, Iswar Panigrahi, Amaresh Jena and five-time corporator Sk Nizamuddin and former MLA Chiranjibi Biswal as star campaigners.

Actor and BJD spokesperson Elina Dash is the only member from the film fraternity who figured in the list.

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