Will not contest from Balasore, Pratap Nana’s there: Vaishnaw

The name of Vaishnaw has been doing rounds for the two MP seats as the former bureaucrat had served both districts as a collector and earned a good reputation.
Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. (Photo | Express)

BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday made it clear that he would not contest the ensuing Lok Sabha elections from Balasore seat.

Amid speculations about his nomination by BJP either from Balasore or Cuttack Parliamentary seats, the Rajya Sabha member from the state said, “I will not contest as we have Pratap Nana (as sitting MP Pratap Sarangi is fondly called) here.”

The minister was on a visit to Balasore for a review of the ongoing development works.

The name of Vaishnaw has been doing rounds for the two MP seats as the former bureaucrat had served both districts as a collector and earned a good reputation. While BJP is in search of a suitable candidate for the Cuttack seat which is presently represented by six-time BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab, speculations are rife that BJP MP and former Union minister Sarangi is more interested in contesting the Assembly election from Nilagiri segment under Balasore Lok Sabha seat.

The frequent visits of Vaishnaw to Balasore even after the Bahanaga train mishap had given fodder to the rumour mills about his preference for the Lok Sabha seat over Cuttack in case the party gave him the option of choosing between the two.

However, Vaishnaw sought to clear the air on the speculations saying, “I am a disciplined worker of the party and do whatever job is entrusted to me. Recently, the party asked me to work in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh which I did.”

Similar was his response during his visit to Cuttack district last week where he attended party programmes in Athagarh, Baramba, Narsingpur and Banki.

Vaishanaw launched a series of projects in Balasore district on Saturday and visited the city railway station on Sunday morning. He asked railway officials to change the Odia signages in the station from Balasore to Baleswar.

He also visited Jhadheshwar Shiv temple along with Sarangi where he participated in temple cleanliness drive before the consecration of Ram temple at Ayodhya. He donated an ambulance to the Balasore district hospital and also visited the AIIMS satellite hospital.

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