Bargarh: It was a show of strength between BJP and BJD as the major political parties roped in star campaigners to woo voters ahead of the bypoll for the Bijepur Assembly constituency.
For BJP, it was Union Minister Smriti Irani and Dharmendra Pradhan who addressed a public meeting at Gaisilat while BJD Supremo Naveen Patnaik campaigned for party candidate Rita Sahu at Badgaon in Barpali on Tuesday.
Addressing the meeting, Irani targeted CM Naveen Patnaik for failing to provide basic amenities including drinking water and electricity to people during his 18-year rule in Odisha.
"Goddess Laxmi doesn't come walking with Naveen babu, but sits atop the lotus and ushers in prosperity," said Irani while seeking votes from people for party candidate Ashok Panigrahi.
BJP leaders are optimistic that Irani's campaign will boost the chances of the party in the constituency.
CM Naveen Patnaik also highlighted the works undertaken by his government for the development of the State and slammed Centre for its anti-people activities.
"The weavers here have made Odisha proud and the Centre had imposed 18 percent GST on handloom products. After Odisha's demand, the GST was reduced to 5 percent and we are demanding complete waiver," said Patnaik.
Late MLA Subal Sahu always worked for the development of the constituency and his wife Rita Sahu is committed to fulfill her husband's dream, he added.
The chief minister will address a public meeting at Barpali from where he will proceed to Kumari village in the block taking part in road shows along the way.
The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu in August last year. The ruling party's candidate, Rita Sahu, is the wife of the deceased MLA.
The Congress, which had been holding the seat for three consecutive terms since 2004, is also trying its best to retain the seat.