In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will hold two rallies in Odisha on Wednesday. This comes days after taking on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her home state. Yogi will address rallies at Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters of the Kalahandi district, and at Nachuni in the Khurda district near state capital Bhubaneswar to bolster the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s bid to improve its poll prospects in the state governed by Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Odisha Assembly with 147 members will go to polls simultaneously with Lok Sabha. The state has 21 Lok Sabha seats.
Sources in the BJP said that after reaching Kalahandi in a helicopter from the Raipur airport, Yogi will offer prayers at the famous Manikeswari temple at Bhawanipatna before addressing a rally at Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium at 12 pm. He will attend a Karyakarta Samabesh at Nachuni High School Field in Khorda around 2.15 am.
Yogi’s visit to the state comes after back-to-back visits by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Shah has set a target of winning at least 120 of the 147 Assembly seats in the state.
Condemning the incident of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav being stopped at Lucknow airport, the SP’s Odisha unit Tuesday threatened to “oppose” Yogi’s proposed visit. Terming the Lucknow airport episode as “illegal and undemocratic”, Samajwadi Party Odisha unit president Rabi Behera claimed that the BJP is a “scared of growing popularity” of Akhilesh Yadav and hence they “directed” the police to detain him at the airport.
“This is unconstitutional and dictatorial. Samajwadi Party Odisha unit will oppose Yogi’s Odisha tour,” Behera said in a statement. He said the Samajwadi Party Odisha unit will meet on February 15 to discuss how to oppose the visit of Adityanath to Odisha.
“Samajwadi Party Odisha Unit will avenge the dishonor and disrespect to their national president by opposing Yogi in the state,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)