The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) flagged off its first election rally on Wednesday with party president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik participating in a road show in Ganjam. He reached Shergarh, which is part of his assembly constituency Hinjli by helicopter and began his campaign from there. Speaking to newsmen at Shergarh, Mr. Patnaik said he was confident that the BJD candidates would win in most constituencies in the State. His road show traversed through villages of Shergarh and Hinjli blocks, which are part of his constituency. He offered floral tributes to the statue of his father Biju Patnaik at Hinjli.
Despite the scorching heat, villagers gathered in front of their houses and street corners to welcome the CM. Mr. Patnaik has won from Hinjli assembly seat three times in a row and his margin has always increased. In the last assembly polls he defeated his Congress rival by a margin of around 61,000 votes. In most places during his road show, number of women who were members of Women Self Help Groups (WSHG) were seen to be welcoming him. The WSHG movement was initiated by him in Ganjam district during the 90s and they have become a major support base for the BJD.
From Hinjli assembly constituency, the motorcade of Mr. Patnaik reached Berhampur via its adjoining villages. A number of office bearers of the district unit of BJD, the candidate for Berhampur assembly seat Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik, city mayor K. Madhavi, and several leaders of the Congress who have recently joined the BJD welcomed him at Gate Bazar square. His road show continued in different wards of the city in the evening.
Minister Debi Mishra, who accompanied the BJD president during the road show in the city, said the BJD was in an extremely good position and personal campaign of Mr. Patnaik would increase the votes for the BJD further. It may be noted that in 2009, out of 13 assembly seats in Ganjam district, the BJD had won in 11 and its then ally CPI had won in one.
The BJD had also won in both Berhampur and Aska Lok Sabha seats in 2009. This time the BJD has decided to contest in all the 13 assembly seats of home district of Mr. Patnaik and hope to win in all. Mr. Patnaik also held a road show in areas of Gopalpur Assembly constituency.
He stayed the night at a beach resort in Gopalpur to take part in a series of public meetings and road shows in the district on Thursday. During this two day marathon campaign he would touch eight out of 22 blocks of the district.