Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Candidates of political parties are leaving no stone unturned to woo voters with hardly few hours left before campaigning for the first phase elections ends today.

Four Lok Sabha seats-Kalahandi, Nabarangpur,Berhampur and Koraput which means  28 of 147 Assembly segments under their jurisdiction will go to polls in the State on April 11.

As per the directive of the Election Commission of India, political parties and their candidates have to stop their poll campaigns by 5 pm today.

For the first phase elections, date of notification was issued on March 18, last date of filing nomination was March 25 while scrutiny of papers were carried out on March 26.

Today is also the last day for filing of nominations for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections. Scrutiny will take place tomorrow, while April 12 is the last date for withdrawal of candidature.

All major political parties including the BJD, BJP and Congress have already nominated their candidates and campaigning for the polls since last two weeks.

While, heavyweights including PM Modi, Amit Shah and other senior national level leaders of BJP have been camping as star campaigners for their party candidates in the state, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has braced up to take up the fight for BJD. Similarly, for Congress, Rahul Gandhi has already been extensively campaigning in the state and released manifesto to attract the voters in the first phase polls.

Campaigning for Berhampur Lok Sabha seat, Congress candidate V Chandrasekhar Naidu said, campaigning has been like a T20 cricket match for him. Berhampur has always been bastion of the Congress but due to absence of good leadership, workers and supporters of the party had gone dormant. After being assigned ticket, I consolidated the organisation and strengthened the vote base.

BJP’s Digapahandi candidate Pinki Pradhan said people of Odisha have been fed up with the Naveen government as it has miserably failed in fulfilling the basic needs of the people like drinking water. Our agenda is to make people aware that they have been cheated and looted by the BJD government. On the other hand we also want to spread the message of PM Modi’s good work.

Speaking on his poll prospects, BJD Bhawanipatna candidate Dushmanta Naik said he is confident to secure win with the support of voters from every ward of the constituency.

Ahead of the elections, the Election Commission, State Police and other officials concerned have expedited measures to ensure free, fair and peaceful conduct of elections.

BK Sharma, who took over as DGP In-charge of Odisha today informed that police has geared up to face challenges in to ensure peaceful conduct of elections in Maoist-dominated constituencies many of which go to polls during this phase.

Similarly, officials in-charge of polling duty along with security personnel have been mobilised to make arrangments for the polls in these constituencies.