Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, April 8:
The hectic and high voltage campaign for the 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats of Odisha going to polls in the first phase on April 10 concluded today giving a respite to the ears as the high decibel cacophony of loud speakers blaring out election slogans fell silent.
All political parties and several Independent candidates were seen making their last ditch efforts to woo the voters. BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik campaigned in Rourkela and Ganjam district for his party candidates today.
During the month-long electioneering, many political bigwigs had made whirlwind visits to the state. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, BJP President Rajnath Singh and senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu addressed poll rallies to muster support for their respective party nominees.
Besides, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the sole star campaigner of BJD, two other chief ministers, Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) and Hemant Soren (Jharkhand) also hit the campaign trail in the state.
Many cine star,s including Bollywood star Sunil Shetty, Prachi Desai, Aditya Pancholi and Priti Jhangiani, campaigned in Odisha. Besides, Ollywood stars also made their presence during the campaign adding glamour and glitz to the electioneering.
Among the candidates in the fray in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls are former Chief Ministers Giridhar Gamang and Hemananda Biswal, both of them from Congress, from Koraput and Sundargarh parliamentary seats. The other high profile candidates in this phase are former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das of Congress from Kalahandi, former Union minister Jual Oram of the BJPand hockey star Dillip Turkey of the BJD in Sundargarh and cine star Sidhant Mohapatra of the BJD in Berhampur.
The prominent candidates in the first phase of Assembly elections are Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Hinjli, Revenue minister Surya Narayan Patro in Digapahandi, former minister AU Singhdeo and senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra in Bolangir and BJP president KV Singhdeo in Patnagarh.
About 1.36 lakh voters will cast their votes to decide the fate of a total 771 candidates contesting for Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies spread over western and southern Odisha.
Many small political parties have also fielded their candidates. Among the other contestants are candidates of AAP, Odisha Janmorcha (OJM), Ama Odisha Party, Samata Kranti Dal, BSP, JMM and Trinamool Congress.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission, in order to ensure a free and fair election, has deployed adequate security personnel. With several constituencies in these regions falling under Maoist-hit areas, tight security arrangements have been made with to prevent any untoward incident.