Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday embarked on the BJP's 'Jan Ashirwad Jatra’ in Odisha and described the state as his “karma bhoomi”. The bureaucrat-turned-politician received a rousing welcome by the saffron party workers on his arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport.
Vaishnaw, who was joined by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said he was overwhelmed by the reception he received from the BJP activists on his maiden visit to the state after becoming a central minister.
As part of his visit, Vaishnaw travelled to Rayagada in a train on Thursday and visited Koraput for the party's programme. The Railway Minister participated in the dance performance of tribal women in Koraput. The Minister also held a roadshow in the village.
"Odisha is always my karma bhoomi," Vaishnaw, the former IAS officer of the 1994-batch, said.
The minister tried to prove that he belongs to Odisha as he kept on updating about his visit to the state on his official Twitter handle and wrote all the messages on the microblogging site in Odia.
Vaishnaw launched the four-day programme in the state to aware people of the benefits of various central schemes.
Pradhan and Vaishnaw also went to Lord Jagannath temple in Puri and were welcomed by the people on their way to the pilgrim town from here.
Taking to Twitter, the railway minister posted a photo of him with an elderly person who greeted him on his way to Puri. He stopped his vehicle at several places and interacted with the people standing on both sides of the road.
He is scheduled to go to Nabarangpur on Saturday and to Kalahandi and Bolangir on August 22. Pradhan will also attend various programmes in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Khurda from August 19 to 22, Mohapatra said.
The party sources said the two Union ministers will travel 419 km in the four days and hold programmes at 115 places in six parliamentary constituencies spread over seven districts.
Another minister from Odisha, Biswaswar Tudu, however, could not participate in the party's programme as he is not well due to post-COVID complications.
Vaishnaw, who hails from Rajasthan, was elected to Rajya Sabha in 2019 with the support of the ruling BJD in Odisha and became the Union minister last month.
He was district magistrate and collector of Cuttack and Balasore in the 1990s and later became the private secretary to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
(With inputs from PTI)