Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday launched a scathing attack on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, accusing him of betraying the people of Bijepur by resigning from the seat he had won in the April Legislative Assembly election.
Pradhan, a senior BJP leader hailing from the state, launched his party's campaign from Gaisilata block, part of the Bijepur assembly segment, where the by-poll is scheduled on October 21.
BJP has fielded Sanat Gartia on the seat.
Patnaik was elected from two assembly seats- Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in Bargarh district. He quit the membership of Bijepur in June this year.
While urging people to vote for the BJP nominee, Pradhan sought a reply from Patnaik why he vacated the Bijepur seat.
"The people of Bijepur had committed a mistake by electing Patnaik. Why the chief minister retained Hinjili and quit Bijepur?" Pradhan asked.
"What is Patnaik's intention in retaining Hinjili and quitting Bijepur? This indicated that the chief minister love Hinjili and not Bijepur. He has betrayed the people of Bijepur," Pradhan alleged while addressing an another election meeting at Talapali.
The union minister pointed out that Patnaik had announced that he would ensure overall development of Bijepur during the 2018 by-poll. But, the basic facilities like healthcare, irrigation and drinking water supply are not so far available to the people.
Apart from Pradhan, Bargarh Lok Sabha MP Suresh Pujari, state BJP president Basant Panda, Loisingha MLA Mukesh Mahaling, ex-MLA KV Singhdeo, Pradeep Purohit, BJP state vice president Aswini Sarangi and others also sought support for the party nominee.
Gartia was defeated by Patnaik in the April elections at Bijepur assembly seat by a margin of about 57,000 votes.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJD has also launched its campaign in Bijepur. BJD candidate Rita Sahu along with many women leaders, including party chief whip Pramila Mallick, former minister Snehangini Chhuria and others, held meetings in the constituency.
"There is no point for BJP to make claim for Bijepur. The people of Bijepur had voted Patnaik and will elect his candidate Rita Sahu this time also. We will win the seat by over a margin of 35,000 votes," Mallick claimed.
Senior BJD leader Sanjay Dasburma said the BJP cannot mislead the people of Bijepur. "The people have already seen how the chief minister is concerned for the development of Bijepur. They will vote for the BJD candidate," Dasburma said.
Congress, which has fielded Dillip Kumar Panda, a green horn, on the seat also started convassing in his favour.
"I have been going from door-to-door to convince people that BJD and BJP are both the two sides of a coin. They cannot develop Bijepur," Panda said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)