Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik holds virtual poll rally, opposition asks why he is not present in person
On a day when Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik addressed election meetings at Tirtol assembly constituency of Jagatsinghpur through video-conferencing facility from his home in Bhubaneswar, opposition parties in Odisha slammed him calling the concept laughable.
Patnaik, who has not stepped out of his home since lockdown except for taking an aerial tour and a visit to the Jagannath temple in Puri, kicked off his virtual campaigning and expressed his inability to attend the rally in person due to Covid-19 restrictions. He also praised the work of the Mission Shakti workers in Tirtol and highlighted the development work undertaken in the region.
Patnaik addressed around 10,000 people of 8 gram panchayats in Tirtol constituency through video conferencing from Naveen Nivas. Patnaik will address another rally in the Balasore assembly constituency through video-conferencing facility on Thursday.
However, his virtual election meeting was slammed by the BJP and the Congress who asked why the CM was not coming out of his home to meet people.
BJP leader and Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi said that if a Chief Minister of a State holds virtual rallies without reaching out to people, it’s surprising and laughable. “Virtual rally? It’s laughable. I urge the party which has been at the helm for over 20 years now to reach out to people, and listen to their problems and grievances,” said Sarangi.
Senior Congress leader and MLA Sura Routray said, “What can the CM say or reply when he is just staying inside his home. Prices of onion, potato, pulses and vegetables are on a steep rise. Both the BJD and BJP have a secret nexus; it is Congress’ time now.”
PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik asked if the CM was not putting thousands of people in jeopardy by organising virtual rallies while he himself was secure. “Aren’t the lives of the people precious? During the pandemic, cores of rupees were misappropriated in the purchase of masks and ventilators. At this time, how is the CM campaigning by spending crores,” asked Patnaik.
This is the first bypoll that Patnaik has missed out on campaigning on the ground. During last year’s assembly bypoll at Bijepur, he had successfully campaigned for the party candidate Rita Sahu.