BJD, BJP launch separate padayatras; Cong gear up for similar march

PTI | Bhubaneswar | Updated: 02-10-2022 21:40 IST | Created: 02-10-2022 21:40 IST
BJD, BJP launch separate padayatras; Cong gear up for similar march
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Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janta Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik appealed to people to cooperate with the party’s month-long padayatra which he launched at a slum here on Sunday.

Coinciding with the BJD’s annual padayatra programme which is being conducted on Gandhi Jayanti since 2010, the opposition BJP on Sunday launched a similar programme for the first time.

The Congress too has announced a state-wide padayatra from October 31.

With all three major parties launching a similar programme, the state is set to witness a ‘padayatra’ politics much ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and state assembly polls scheduled to be held in 2024.

While walking with party leaders at the Kargil Bustee here, Patnaik was welcomed by the slum dwellers with people shouting “Naveen Patnaik Zindabad” and women ululating.

The ruling party organised events like “conch shell blowing”, tribal dances and other folk arts on the occasion of the BJD’s padayatra. The conch shell is the BJD’s election symbol.

Though the party had announced a public meeting on the occasion, Patnaik completed his speech in just two sentences.

“The BJD’s padayatra has started on Gandhi Jayanti. I appeal to all to make it successful by reaching the people of each household,” Patnaik said.

Patnaik mingled with the public after a gap of two years as the party’s padayatra programme was not held in 2020 and 2021.

He mostly remained confined to ‘Naveen Niwas’, his residence, for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. The chief minister is yet to attend his office on the third floor of the state secretariat Lok Seva Bhavan.

Other BJD leaders, however, addressed the gathering.

Referring to BJP president J P Nadda’s recent call to party supporters to oust the BJD from power and make Odisha “BJD Mukt”, local MLA and minister Ashok Chandra Panda said, “For the last 25 years, the chief minister has been serving the people of the state. None can disengage him from doing so until the people of Odisha want.” BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra said that the month-long padayatra programme will cover the entire state and the party leaders and workers will sensitise people on various welfare and developmental programmes of the state government.

He said that the padayatra is being organised at the state level, district level, block level and also the panchayat level.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP’s Bhubaneswar unit also launched a padayatra from Jagamara area.

Party leader Babu Singh said that such marches will be held across the state to highlight the alleged failure of the 22-year rule of the BJD and sensitise people on the welfare works of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

OPCC president Sarat Pattnayak said that the Congress’ padayatra, which will begin on October 31, will expose the “BJD-BJP nexus” and also take up issues like price rise, unemployment and lawlessness in the state.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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