The campaigning is in full swing for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha. Six Lok Sabha constituencies -- Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur, and 41 Assembly seats falling under them, will go to the polls in the fourth phase on April 29.
This will be the last phase of voting in the state, except for the Patkura Assembly constituency, where the polling will take place on May 19.
Star campaigners of three major political parties -- the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) -- are touring these areas to garner support for their respective candidates.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday addressed election meetings in Jajpur, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha seats.
Addressing a meeting in Bari under the Jajpur Lok Sabha constituency, Singh slammed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for failing to ensure development of the state and not implementing the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. "The Ayushman Bharat Yojana has been implemented across the country. However, the BJD government is not implementing it in Odisha," he said.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari have addressed public meetings, BJP president Amit Shah and other leaders will conduct rallies in the next two days of campaigning. Shah is scheduled to address public meetings in Mayurbhanj and Jajpur districts on April 27.
On the other hand, central leaders of the Congress are holding rallies for the first time in Odisha after declaration of poll dates.
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar on Thursday addressed a rally in the Bhadrak Lok Sabha constituency. He appealed people to throw Narendra Modi and Naveen Patnaik out of power and elect Congress-led governments for all round development.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi will address a public meeting in Balasore on Friday. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad will conduct a roadshow in Jagatsinghpur and All India Mahila Congress (AIMC) president Sushmita Dev will address poll meetings in Jaleswar and Korei on the same day.
To retain his citadel and keep the two national parties at bay, BJD president Naveen Patnaik is making whirlwind tours of Assembly constituencies going to the polls in the fourth phase.
Claiming that no national party would get majority at the Centre, Patnaik appealed the electorate to vote for the BJD as Odisha was going to play a key role in the central government formation.
While central leaders did not visit the state during natural calamities, they were nor rushing in to seek votes, he said.
Elections are being held in four phases in the state, which has 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats.
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