BJD supremo staying away from poll campaign grossly unfortunate: Pradeep Maharathi

Puri: Senior BJD leader and minister Pradeep Maharathy today said his party would have performed much better in the Panchayat polls in Odisha had the party supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik vigorously campaigned for his party candidates.

“It is unfortunate for the BJD that the party supremo did not give much emphasis on campaigning for his party candidates. Had he taken up some more campaigning, more people would have voted the party. But I would never say that the BJD is not faring well. The party has been performing well and would perform better in last two phases of the Panchayat polls,” Maharathy told media persons here.

Asked whether the star campaigners roped in by the ruling party for campaigning have any impact in the elections, he said the participation of the star campaigners had positive impact in some areas, and not in all areas. He, however, said he has personally campaigned in all areas of his constituency.

“Neither I have been given charge of any district and nor I have invited any star campaigner to campaign in my district,” he added.

To a question on whether BJD would be able to better its performance if it always depends on the star campaigners, Maharathi said there is a need for involvement of star campaigners. “But at the time, there is a need to review the participation of the star campaigners, mostly the Ollywood actors, after the elections are over,” he pointed out.

Expressing similar views Vice-President of BJD Surya Narayan Patro said, “It would have been better if Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had gone for campaigning because he is the superstar.” He even added, “The Chief Minister has all the information including possible calculations. We will review poll results.”

The party is also demanding a review on the election results is necessary. The actors of Ollywood were the hope of BJD, prominent among them who had campaigned for the party were actor-turned-MP Sidhant Mohapatra and Anubhav Mohanty, Arindam, Akash, Mihir Das, Uttam Mohanty and Kuna Tripathy. While they were able to gather crowd, they failed in gaining votes for the party.

Veteran BJD leader and Excise Minister Damodar Rout said, “What is the relation of the actors with politics, the stars performing in the movies are not stars, where the people have self-respect they will not give vote, the performance would have been better if party organisation had been taken into confidence.”

On the other hand Kuna Tripathy said, “Crowd gathering for watching an actor and giving votes is a different thing, people are not such fools that they will give vote after watching an actor, but I want to ask that why can’t an actor enter into politics.”