Panchayat poll: C’garh, J’khand CMs in BJP’s revised star campaigner list

Bhubaneswar: In an all-out effort to corner the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the ensuing panchayat poll next month, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday declared its second revised list of star campaigners, in which Raman Singh and Raghubar Das, the chief minsters of neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand respectively, have been included.

The other new faces who found place in the list include former CM of Jharkhand Arjun Munda, Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav, Union Minister of State for Mines Vishnu Deo Sai, party’s Odisha in-charge Arun Singh and BJP national general secretary Soudan Singh.

A total of 11 new faces have replaced same number of star campaigners for the panchayat poll.

Those who are dropped from the saffron party’s list are Kuchinda MLA Rabi Nayak, chief spokesperson Sajjan Sharma, spokesperson Golak Mohapatra, Mohan Majhi and Parsuram Majhi.

On Wednesday the party had announced names of its 40 star campaigners and submitted the list to State Election Commission (SEC). Though names of Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray and party’s national executive body member Bijay Mohapatra were missing in the first list, these were included in the revised list announced later in the day.

Party sources say both Mohapatra and Ray, known for their long anti-Naveen Patnaik stand, are not in good terms with the present state leadership.

Besides Oram and Dharmendra, party state president Basanta Kumar Panda, legislature party leader KV Singh Deo, senior leader Biswabhushan Harichandan, Bijay Mohapatra, MLAs Dilip Ray, Rabi Nayak, Radharani Panda, former state president Manmohan Samal and party’s national secretary Suresh Pujari were among the star campaigners.

BJP State vice president Samir Mohanty said the party will field candidate in 854 zilla parishad seats in the state. “We have started our campaign across the state. After appointing all these campaigners, we will intensify our campaigns in the state to woo the voters,” he added.