At a time when speculations are rife that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik may contest the 2024 General Elections from Puri Assembly constituency, senior BJD leader Shashi Bhushan Behera on Friday said the CM can win wherever he contests.
“His (CM Naveen Patnaik's) leadership and the wheel of progress have touched the people. His personality is well spread out to every nook and cranny of the state. From that point of view, he can be a candidate from any constituency. As you know, Naveen Patnaik is the supremo of the party and it is up to him to decide from where he will contest.”
Behera termed the support for the CM coming from Puri as blessings of Lord Jagannath.
The ongoing discussions on the CM contesting from Puri Assembly constituency were set in motion by BJD leader and senior Daitapati servitor, Ramkrushna Das Mohapatra who recently said people across party lines will support Patnaik if he chooses to contest the election from the ‘Jagannath Dham’.
If the BJD’s past programmes are considered, even a layman can say that the pilgrim town has been a favourite of the conch party. On the occasion of party’s foundation day, various programmes were organised there. Even cabinet meetings were organised in Puri.
Before the 2019 elections, the party launched its KALIA scheme from Puri. Last but not least, the ongoing Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project is said to be close to the Chief Minister’s heart.
Is Puri going to be 2024 Election battle epicentre?
Will the Jagannath Dham of Puri witness a pitched battle in 2024? Such debate has now gained momentum as it is said that the pilgrim town might witness a grand fight between CM Naveen Patnaik and PM Narendra Modi.
While CM Naveen may contest from the Puri Assembly constituency and PM Narendra Modi might contest from the Puri Lok Sabha seat.
When asked about CM Naveen Patnaik contesting from Puri, BJP's Bhubaneswar MP, Aparajita Sarangi wanted to know if there was any problem for the BJD chief to contest from Hinjili? Are the people no longer fond of him, Sarangi questioned.
“I want to know if the CM has any problem at Hinjili and why he wants to change constituency,” said Sarangi
The Bhubaneswar MP on the other hand said that it will be a matter of pride for all if PM Narendra Modi contests from the Puri Parliamentary segment.
What Other Leaders Said...
BJP's Puri MLA, Jayant Sarangi said, “I am hearing that PM is contesting from Puri Lok Sabha and CM will contest in the Assembly seat. There is no fear which was in 2019. Winning or losing is God’s wish and it doesn’t mean that I would leave the battleground out of fear.”
BJD MLA, Arabinda Dhali said, “CM Naveen Patnaik will win from any place in Odisha with bumper voters and there is not an iota of doubt in it.”