Central leaders thronging poll-bound Odisha

Bhubaneswar: With Odisha facing general and assembly elections simultaneously this year, the central leaders of various political parties are descending on the state to hit the campaign trail. After back-to-back tours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit the state on February 6.

“Gandhi will address two public meetings at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district and Rourkela in Sundergarh district on the same day,” said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Niranjan Patnaik.

This will be Gandhi’s second visit to the state within two weeks. Earlier, the Congress President had visited the state on January 25.

With the saffron party focusing on Odisha, BJP President Amit Shah is scheduled to visit the state again on February 3. He will address the BJP’s Scheduled Tribe Morcha meeting at Puri, said a party official on Thursday.

Shah had earlier addressed a meeting of booth-level workers of four Lok Sabha constituencies — Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Cuttack and Jajpur — on January 29.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday also addressed a social justice campaign meeting in Bhubaneswar.

Sources said the AAP is likely to field candidates in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Odisha.

On the other hand, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is making a whirlwind tour of the state. Patnaik is on an inauguration spree ahead of the elections.

Naveen Patnaik is vying for a fifth consecutive win in the 2019 Assembly polls.