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Parties gear up for ULB poll campaign


OST Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 5:

With the Urban Local Body (ULB) elections only two weeks away, the ruling BJD and the opposition Congress and BJP have geared up for intense campaigning.

BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to begin his state-wide campaign from Thursday.

Patnaik, who would begin his campaign from Hinjili, his home constituency, had a detailed discussion in this regard with his party colleagues at Naveen Nivas on Wednesday.

Elections would be held for 21 wards in Hinjili NAC where an estimated 19,178 voters would exercise their franchise.

As per the schedule, the chief minister would cover Balugaon and Banpur NACs during the day after the Hinjili meeting. As many as 40 party leaders, including some ministers, would take part in the electioneering in 66 ULBs the voting for which is scheduled on September 19.

In the meanwhile, the opposition BJP has also prepared a list of 40 senior leaders to undertake campaign for the candidates in collaboration with local leaders. The party has also submitted a list of 40 leaders to the State Election Commission (SEC) as part of the poll campaign.

In a statement here on Wednesday, State BJP president KV Singhdeo made it clear that his party had decided not to employ the services of any national leaders during the ULB poll as all leaders of the state unit are star campaigners.

On the other hand, the opposition Congress has planned to rope in some senior national leaders including Union ministers Srikant Jena, Sachin Pailot, Jyotiraditya Scindhia, Jayaram Ramesh and Chiranjeevi to campaign for the party.

The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Jayadev Jena is scheduled to begin his campaign from September 16, sources in the party said.