All Eyes On PM Modi Odisha Visit On Feb 23, Party Leaders Await Marching Order

Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Odisha are anxiously looking forward to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming visit to the state on February 3 when he will address a public meeting at Sambalpur. They are waiting with bated breath to see if the PM is going to give them the much required “marching order” in the state to defeat the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik or he just bypassing this imperative just to keep the CM in good humour.

All these years, the BJP central leaders have seemingly adopted a soft stand towards the BJD, its key rival in the state, as the regional party has always extended it the much-needed support to pass crucial bills in Rajya Sabha and getting NDA candidates elected to various constitutional positions.

After the 2019 twin Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha, the BJP central leaders have not been that vocal about their Odisha mission. Nor have they made it clear that they would resume the battle against the Naveen Patnaik government which was launched by former president and present home minister Amit Shah on the eve of 2019 polls.

Shah had then set a target of 120 of the 147 assembly seats in 2019. However, the party could win only 23 seats of which it later lost one to the Balasore seat to the BJD in a by-election.

What is plaguing the saffron party is lack of cohesive effort by its central and state leaders to identify issues and build up a strong public opinion against the 24-year-old BJD government. The BJP leaders appear to be at their wit’s end as to which specific issues they need to raise in the run-up to the polls.

In the run-up to 2019 Lok Sabha and assembly elections, the BJP had vociferously raised chit fund and mining scams that in fact fetched it massive dividends. The party saw itself surpassing the main opposition Congress party and grabbing the second spot in Odisha politics, next to the BJD which retained power for the fifth term with 113 seats.

Though the party’s central leaders had in the first week of December last year announced to rake up the chit fund scam issue, it has not shown any further activities on the matter till yet. Similarly, though party’s stalwart and Leader of the Opposition in Odisha Legislative Assembly, Jayanarayan Mishra, raised the mining scam issue a few days ago, none of the state BJP leaders have extended support to him in this regard.

A BJP leader said on the condition of anonymity that if the PM gives the “marching order,” this party’s election machinery will surely put up a brave show and come to power in the state.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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