BJP National President Amit Shah today arrived here to preside over the Party’s highest Policy Making Body (National Executive) Meet.
Mr.Shah was given a rousing reception by the saffron cadre with two lotus garlands - one with 21 flowers apparently in a symbolic manner for the Lok Sabha seats in the State and another with 147 blooms marking the State Legislative Assembly seats.
Mr.Shah was offered the larger lotus garland by State unit President Basant Panda and the other by Union Minister Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.
"The State leadership in a manner requested Mr.Shah to help it in winning all the 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats in the state," said a youth saffron leader.
Notably, the party has only one Lok Sabha seat out the total 21 in the state and 10 out of the 147 Assembly seats in 2014 General Election.
Mr.Shah reached Biju Patnaik International Airport here at around 1.30 pm and was warmly received by several BJP leaders.
He garlanded the statue of BR Ambedkar at AG Square to pay tribute to the late leader on his birthday.
Mr.Shah joined the Odia New Year celebrations at State Headquarters of the Party in the afternoon and shared the ‘pana’ with party cadres and leaders.
The two-day national executive meeting will begin here on 15 April with all the party bigwigs, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, joining the deliberations.
Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of 13 BJP-ruled states and three Deputy Chief Ministers beside a host of senior party leaders, including veteran LK Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi, will attend the meet, he added.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to arrive here around 3.30 PM on 15 April. He will proceed to the Raj Bhavan straight from the airport before attending the National Executive meet at Janata Maidan at 5 PM.
BJP today named the venue of its national executive meeting here after the dalit poet Bhima Bhoi apparently in a bid to woo dalits who comprise over 17 per cent of Odisha's population.
Mr.Pradhan said the dalit saint poet was blind since birth but wrote a number of revolutionary poems and his ideology has been appreciated by the United Nations. "Bhima Bhoi was also a social reformer and symbol of brotherhood and respected by people, mostly poor," he said.
As many as 23 seats in State Legislative Assembly are reserved for scheduled caste candidates while three of its 21 Lok Sabha seats are allotted to the dalit community.
BJP had won only two SC seats in the Assembly and none of the three LS seats allotted to the community.
The party now focuses on dalit votes which traditionally belonged to Congress but has now slipped into hands of the BJD.
The dalit population in the state is 71,48,463 according to the 2011 census.
Earlier in the morning, RSS Swayam Sevaks had also garlanded the statue of Dr.Ambedkar on the occasion of his 126th Birth Anniversary.