Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday addressed three rallies in Nuapada, Balangir and Rourkela to boost the party's chances in western part of Odisha, launching an attack on both the Congress and the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
He came down heavily on chief minister Naveen Patnaik's BJD, a former ally of the saffron party. Addressing a rally in Balangir, about 350 km west of Bhubaneswar, he said after winning elections repeatedly, the BJD had become arrogant and taken people of the state for granted.
"The party thinks the people will vote for it even if it does nothing for them. People should throw out the nikamma sarkar (useless government) in the state," Modi said.
Modi expressed his concern that whenever there was debate on poverty and hunger death, Kalahandi's name came up. "This is not a matter of pride for us and the situation should change," he said, appealing people to vote for the BJP.
This is Modi's third visit to Odisha since he addressed a rally in Bhubaneswar in February. During his second visit last month, he had addressed a rally in Sambalpur, western Odisha's main town.
The BJP has always had a good presence in western Odisha and party workers believe Modi's visit would boost prospects of party candidates in Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Balangir and Kalahandi Lok Sabha constituencies that go to poll in the first phase on April 10.
The BJP was a coalition partner of the BJD in the state government from 2000 to 2009. It had won nine out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in the 1999 general elections, but its tally was reduced to six in 2004. In 2009, it had drawn a blank.
This time, surveys have predicted three to seven seats for the party. However, BJP state president KV Singh Deo claimed the party would win 12 seats due to "Modi wave".