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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: As general elections inch closer, political parties are lining up visits of their stalwarts to Odisha.

BJP chief Amit Shah’s back-to-back Odisha visits, followed by Nitin Gadkari and former Jharkhand CM Arjun Munda’s visit to Keonjhar today, the saffron party is leaving no stone unturned to make its Mission 120 plus seats successful. As part of its attempts, it has also announced to organise a 'Parivartan Samabesh' in all the 147 Assembly constituencies.

In view of the programme, several top level party leaders from the Centre are likely to visit the State. Besides Shah, several others like Home Minister Rajnath Singh, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union ministers Giriraj Singh, Ram Kripal Yadav and Manoj Sinha are also scheduled to lead party’s campaign in Odisha over the next few weeks. Odisha BJP chief Basant Panda has informed that senior party leader Rajnath Singh will arrive in Odisha on February 17 and prior to that Giriraj Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav are also scheduled to visit the State.

While Congress' Rahul Gandhi has already visited the State twice in a span of few weeks, he is also scheduled for another visit later this month to Koraput. The Odisha PCC has also proposed the party leadership to bring Priyanka Gandhi as a star campaigner during Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Koraput.

“Although we have not decided on the exact date and place of the visit, we have requested the AICC for Priyanka Gandhi’s visit to Odisha,” said OPCC chief, Niranjan Patnaik.

Meanwhile, the BJD is also gearing up by promoting ‘brand Naveen.’ Many believe that on the pretext of government programmes, Chief Minister and party president Naveen Patnaik is holding marathon campaigns to win the confidence of voters.

“The Opposition parties might bring as many leaders as possible to campaign in Odisha, but they will lose their sheen in front of CM’s popularity,” said senior BJD leader and Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera.

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