High likelihood of Narendra Modi contesting from Puri: BJP MLA

Bhubaneswar: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi brushed off speculations of contesting form Puri Lok Sabha constituency in 2019 elections terming them as a figment of media’s imagination, party’s MLA from Padampur in Odisha, Pradip Purohit today said that there is a 90 per cent chance that the PM will join the fray for Puri LS seat in the upcoming elections.

Speaking to reporters, Purohit said “When Modiji started his political campaign after being selected as the party’s PM candidate, he first came to Puri. After successfully becoming the Prime Minister, he again toured the pilgrim city to seek Lord Jagannath’s blessings. Be it Railways or any other sectors, he has given maximum focus to Odisha and the State is an integral part of his ‘look east’ agenda.”

Saying that the possibility of his candidature cannot be completely ruled out, Purohit said “The PM contested the last elections from Varanasi which is a prominent pilgrim site. Puri too, is a major pilgrimage destination and the PM loves the town. I would say that there is 90 per cent chance he may contest from Puri.”

Purohit further added that the parliamentary committee of the party will take a final decision on the matter after receiving recommendations.

Rajya Sabha member and BJD Vice-President Prasanna Acharya was quick to respond on the matter and said that it will have no affect on the ruling-party’s prospects in Odisha.

“This is a democracy and anyone can contest elections from anywhere. If PM Modi quits his own constituency and contests from Odisha, we do not have anything to say on it,” said Acharya.

BJD spokesperson Sameer Das said, “Modiji is the Prime Minister of India and his party (BJP) will decide where he will contest elections in 2019 and we have nothing to say. If he fights from Puri in view of the party’s mission of 120+ seats in Odisha, then it’s their decision. BJD has been contesting elections with the agenda of development and it has fulfilled its promises made in 2014. BJD will go to 2019 polls with the same agenda,” Das added.

Odisha PCC president Niranjan Patnaik said “They (BJP) are losing ground everywhere and Odisha is their last resort. They don’t have any presence here but are making all efforts to get some seats in Odisha. The visits are going to get more frequent in the coming days.”

BJP State President, Basant Panda said “PM Modi’s visit to Odisha will strengthen the party presence in the State. According to surveys, the people of the country trust Prime Minister Modi.”

Earlier on Tuesday, speaking to news agency ANI on New Year’s Day, “Mediawalon ko bhi to kuch kaam milna chahiye…chalta rehta he” (the press should also get some work..it just goes on).