Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday said he will not contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Balasore seat in Odisha, putting speculations to rest.
Speculations were rife that the BJP may field Vaishnaw, a Rajya Sabha MP, in the Balasore seat in the Lok Sabha elections. He was the district collector of Balasore as an IAS officer.
“I will not contest from Balasore. We have Pratap ‘Nana’ here,” he told reporters, referring to sitting BJP MP Pratap Sarangi, who is a former Union minister.
The speculations were further fuelled by Mr Vaishnaw’s extensive visits to various places in Balasore and attending public programmes.
He visited the Balasore railway station in the morning, and asked officers to write ‘Baleswar’, as the place is known in Odia, instead of ‘Balasore’ in signages.
He also visited Jhadheshwar Shiv temple along with Sarangi. He donated an ambulance to the Balasore district hospital, and also went to the AIIMS satellite hospital nearby.
Last week, when Mr Vaishnaw visited the Cuttack district, he did not rule out the possibility that the BJP may field him from the Cuttack seat in the Lok Sabha polls.
When reporters asked about it again on Sunday, he said, “I am a disciplined worker of the party and I perform whatever task the party assigns to me. Recently, the party asked me to work in the Madhya Pradesh elections which I did.”
Mr Vaishnaw was also the district collector of Cuttack.
The Cuttack seat is at present held by six-time BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)