Raman Singh, Raghubar Das to campaign for BJP in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The BJP today announced that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and his Jharkhand counterpart Raghubar Das would campaign for the party in Odisha for the panchayat election even though other political parties have already announced that they will protest during Singh’s visit to the state.

“The party has decided a four-day campaign schedule for Raman Singh. We will also rope in Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and former Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda.

Overall, we have put in place a 12-day campaign schedule for the three leaders,” BJP general secretary Prithiviraj Harichandan said.

Both the chief ministers are being invited by BJP to campaign for the party’s candidates contesting the three-tier panchayat elections polling for which starts from February 13.

Singh’s campaign in Odisha is significant as the Congress and the Samajwadi Party have already announced that they will protest the Chhattishgarh Chief Minister’s visit as the neighbouring state unilaterally constructed projects on the upstream of Mahanadi River leading to slowing down of flow of water in the Hirakud reservoir.

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The state government has already moved the Centre protesting Chhattishgarh’s action after Singh rejected Odisha government’s proposal of stopping projects on the river. The ruling BJD has already made it an issue in the panchayat polls.While other parties have openly announced to oppose Singh’s visit, BJD General Secretary and minister Debi Prasad Mishra, said his party will support the people who oppose Singh even though it would not directly protest against his campaign.

“There is a definite anger among the people of Odisha against Raman Singh over the Mahanadi issue. People will certainly oppose him,” said Leader of Opposition from Congress Narasingha Mishra.

Samajwadi Party state president Rabi Behera has also announced that his party activists will protest against Singh’s visit to Odisha as his action has caused lot of miseries to the people of 15 districts in Odisha.

BJP, on the other hand, was optimistic that the party candidate’s prospect will increase if Singh campaigns in the state. Singh’s good governance in Chattishgarh will benefit it in the polls at bordering areas of Odisha-Chhattisgarh.

This apart, the BJP expects that direct statements of Singh on Mahanadi issue will help it counter the ruling BJD over the Mahanadi issue.