By Nageshwar Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, December 23, 2018: Politics in Odisha seem to be hotting up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday scheduled to unveil projects worth around Rs 15,000 crore.

The saffron party Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), which eyes to make inroads into the eastern parts of the country, aims to dethrone Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his regional party, Biju Janata Dal as part of “look east” strategy.

The party’s Odisha unit president, Basant Panda has expressed his confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will prove to be a trump card in party’s strategy.

“PM Modi’s visit to Odisha on December 24 will not only spur new life and excitement among the party workers, but also it will be vital for the party’s mission 120 plus seats in Odisha,” Panda had said indicating the possible end of Naveen’s 18 year rule in the state.

Panda claimed that a wave of change is now sweeping across Odisha ahead of 2019 elections and Modi’s visit to the state would galvanise the rank and file of the

The prime minister is all set to visit the state twice in January next year. He will visit Odisha to address two meetings on January 5 at Baripada in Mayurbhanj district, BJP state in-charge Arun Singh said. He is slated to attend another meeting in the state on January 16, Singh said.

Stating that the popularity of the prime minister has been growing in Odisha, the senior BJP leader claimed, “Modiji occupies an important position in the hearts of the people of the state.”

During his brief Odisha visit on Monday, he will dedicate the new campus of IIT-Bhubaneswar at Aragul built at a cost of Rs 1660 crore and launch a slew of projects related to higher education, health, road and highways and culture via video conferencing from there.

Besides, top leaders from the party including party president Amit Shah are set to make frequent visits to Odisha where assembly election is scheduled to be held along with Lok Sabha polls next year. The prime minister will address a public meeting near Khurda on Monday.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who took stock of preparations for Modi’s one-day Odisha visit, said the prime minister will unveil several developmental projects worth Rs 15,000 crore in line with his vision of “PURBODAYA” -a prosperous East for building a new India. Thereafter, the PM will also address a gathering from the foothills of Barunei hills near Khurda – the land of ‘Paika Rebellion’, he said.

Pradhan said these projects will bring unprecedented development to the state. Modi will lay foundation stone for a permanent campus of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Berhampur, Paradip-Hyderabad product pipeline, six-laning of the Chandikhole-Bhadrak section of NH-16, construction of Bokaro-Angul section of Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra gas pipeline project and four-laning of Cuttack-Angul section of NH-42.

The prime minister will also inaugurate new facility of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) hospital in Bhubaneshwar which came up at a cost of Rs 73.5 crore, official sources said. He will also inaugurate the archaeological museum at Lalitgiri, one of the earliest Buddhist settlements in Odisha situated 120 km north of Bhubaneshwar.

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