**Bargarh: ** Initiating his much-awaited election campaign in favour of his party candidate Rita Sahu for the Bijepur by-poll on February 24, ruling BJD supremo-cum-Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday (February 20) wooed voters at Barpali block’s Badagaon election rally.
In his address, Naveen Patnaik tried to strike the emotive chord of the people by greeting them with western Odisha’s most popular word ‘Juhar’. He also paid rich tributes to the great sons of the soil and legendary poet Gangadhar Meher as well as noted freedom fighter Bhagarathi Patnaik.
Also paying homage to Bijepur’s three-time Congress MLA Subal Sahu, the Odisha Chief Minister recounted his encounters with Subal Sahu prior to his sad demise and who used to solely discuss about Bijepur’s development.
“As sister Rita Sahu (Subal Sahu’s wife) approached me after his death and wished to fulfill the dreams of her husband and serve Bijepur, I appeal you all to cast votes in her favour for the larger interests of Bijepur,” the regional satrap canvassed.
Listing out the plans and policies already charted out and being implemented for Bijepur’s development, Naveen Patnaik assured the voters, “Bijepur’s development is my personal responsibility while sister Rita Sahu will be your elected representative and supervise the services being delivered to you.”
“Sister Rita Sahu’s self-confidence and commitment has impressed me,” the BJD supremo and Chief Minister remarked.
For the handloom weavers he said, “It was 18% GST on handlooms. But, we fought for the benefits of our handloom weaver brethren following which 5% GST has been slashed after our demand before the Centre.”
Naveen Patnaik delivered his much-sought-after electoral address at 1.10 pm on his first day of campaign.