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Lok Sabha elections 2019: PM Modi to kick off Odisha campaign from southern Jeypore town

The BJP chose Jeypore as it is in the middle of the undivided Koraput district, where two Lok Sabha constituencies of Nabarangpur and Koraput will vote on April 11.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 29, 2019 10:32 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Jeypore (Koraput)
Narendra Modi,Narendra Modi in Odisha,Lok Sabha elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally at Dumi village of Akhnoor on March 28.(ANI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will start the BJP’s electoral campaign in Odisha on Friday with a public rally in Jeypore town of Koraput district, which goes to polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election, as it heads for a direct contest with the BJD in the eastern state.

The BJP chose Jeypore as it is in the middle of the undivided Koraput district, where two Lok Sabha constituencies of Nabarangpur and Koraput will vote on April 11. Both Koraput and Nabarangpur have a high density of tribal population and was once a Congress bastion.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had visited Koraput early this month and promised free education for girls and enhancement of amount of pension for widows among others.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) lawmaker Jayaram Pangi from the Koraput Lok Sabha constituency and in Nabarangpur it gave the ticket to the sitting BJD MP Balabhadra Majhi, who hopped to the BJP a fortnight ago. Though the BJP is likely to improve on its position as compared to the last elections in 2014, the absence of a string MLA candidates may mar its prospects.

The BJP’s leaders said they believe Modi’s popularity would help the prospects of Lok Sabha candidates in both Koraput and Nabarangpur constituencies as the party does not have enough ground-level infrastructure in both. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJD won ten out of the 14 assembly constituencies under Koraput and Nabarangpur Lok Sabha constituencies while Congress won the rest. In almost all the constituencies, the BJP’s candidates lost their security deposits.

As the two constituencies are affected by Maoist violence, massive security arrangement have been made for the rally with the deployment of 35 platoons of security forces, including personnel of the Border Security Force and local police. Koraput’s superintendent of police Kanwar Vishal Singh said a three-tier security ring has been made for Prime Minister Modi.

Odisha, which has 21 Lok Sabha seats, will vote in four phases. In the first phase, polling will be held in four constituencies on April 11. In phase two, voting will be held in five seats on April 18. In phase three, six constituencies will vote on April 23 and six seats will vote on April 29 in the fourth phase.

Lok Sabha elections 2019 will be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. Results will be declared on May 23.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 10:31 IST