BJP's prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani had a whirlwind day on Tuesday as he returned to Orissa for the first time since it parted ways with the Biju Janata Dal (BJP).
Advani addressed four rallies, starting at Khariar Road in Naupada district in the morning and travelling across four districts before ending the day with the late evening rally in Cuttack. It might have been a little less hectic for the senior leader had the BJD been still within the NDA fold.
Advani told an eager crowd at his second stop, Sonepur, that he wondered who counselled Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik. “Now Patnaik has joined hands with the Communists who dump people when they need them the most. Go through contemporary history and you will know the Communists do not gel well with new world politics. Patnaik has committed a blunder by quitting the NDA and will pay the price after the election. Iska parinam unko bhugatna padega (He will have to bear the consequences),” Advani said, hinting at how the BJP came to power in Karnataka after JD(S) dumped them.
Shifting focus to Orissa, he said Sonepur, which has 124 temples, inspired him to think about religious tourism. “If voted to power, NDA will open a special wing of religious tourism in the Department of Tourism to help tourists to religious centres of different faiths,” he said. “Few years back, former Pakistan PM Benazir Bhutto had expressed her wish to visit the Ajmer Sharif and I had asked the then Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje to facilitate her visit. Tourism in the country is mainly religious tourism.”
The third rally was at Paikamala in Bargad district and the last one was at Cuttack.