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Congress yet to match BJP's campaign in Orissa

Cong seemed to be clueless & is grappling with its own problems with just three days to go for the first phase of the polls in the state.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Bhubaneswar
PUBLISHED ON APR 16, 2004 07:10 PM IST

In the face of a high voltage campaign unleashed by the BJP for the BJP-BJD combine in Orissa, opposition Congress seemed to be clueless and is grappling with its own problems with just three days to go for the first phase of the simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the state on April 20.

BJP-BJD alliance was clearly ahead as far as election campaign was concerned while the Congress which was leading a five-party front had just kickstarted it on April 10 and their star campaigner and party president Sonia Gandhi was yet to visit the state.

BJP has literally started its carpet-bombing with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee holding public gatherings last week and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani touring Orissa for three days with his Bharat Uday Yatra covering eight Lok Sabha and 29 assembly constituencies.

A galaxy of BJP leaders starting from party president M Venkaiah Naidu, Pramod Mahajan to Sushma Swaraj besides film actress Hema Malini had campaigned for the ruling BJD-BJP combine since the end of February.

Compared to it, Congress campaign was a very low-key affair with only AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh addressing some meetings besides OPCC president J B Patnaik.

Poll observers here say that because of the lacklustre campaign, Congress so far has not been able to cash in on the undercurrent of 'anti-incumbency' feeling against BJP-BJD which was in power in the state for the last four years.

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