By Subrat Das*
Bhubaneswar: Age and sunny weather have not deterred Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik from moving around the state and reaching the people at the cutting edge level. He has already directly connected with people of as many as 24 districts out of total 30 in the state within the last 37 days.
Naveen has started his current district visits from Bolangir, known for migration. He inaugurated and laid foundation stone for a number of developmental projects and addressed a huge youth convention there. The state government has recently launched youth volunteer force Biju Yuva Bahini and the chief minister spoke to the youth volunteers of the region. The next day he launched KALIA scheme, a pro-farmer initiative which has in the meanwhile earned appreciation nation-wide. Since that day, the 72 year-old politician has been touching upon the districts one after another and has been meeting the people and sharing their feelings. Significantly, Naveen has been trying to woo three major vote banks-farmers, youth and women.
Meanwhile, Naveen has covered 24 districts including the tribal-dominated Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts which he visited today. He will be visiting Bhadrak district tomorrow. The districts he has so far covered are: Cuttack, Bolangir, Puri, Ganjam, Sambalpur, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Balasore, Kendrapara, Kalahandi, Boudh, Jajpur, Bargarh, Dhenkanal, Angul, Nuapada, Rayagada, Khurda, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh. Above all, Naveen has covered the hilly western and southern districts and the coastal plain.
In fact, Naveen has almost completed his campaigning for the coming general elections before the announcement of the election schedule.
Ruling BJD spokesman Sasmit Patra said there was tremendous response from the populace across the state during these visits. “Naveen Babu has directly connected with the people and elicited feedback from them about the implementation of the developmental schemes, be it KALIA, Mission Shakti and Biju Yuva Bahini. People have expressed their unstinted support to these pro-people initiatives”, said Patra.
On the other hand, the Opposition Congress and BJP have criticised Naveen for undertaking election campaign at the cost of the state exchequer. Pradesh Congress Committee vice president Arya Gyanendra said, “However, the pent up anger of the people against the BJD government will be exploded in the coming election and Naveen will taste his electoral defeat this time”. State BJP vice president Samir Mohanty has also expressed the same view.
The writer is a journalist currently working with Sambad Group as Consultant Editor of Group Digital Edition.