Shock Strengthens BJD


It is 7 O’ Clock in the morning, when senior BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra has already reached the residence of Cabinet Minister Damodar Rout in Forest Park area. Both held discussions for an hour and Mishra left for home, where Arun Sahoo was waiting for the veteran. They held more discussions over cups of tea and worked out some details for the BJD supremo to consider.


Now it has been a regular practice among BJD leaders to remain in close contact with each other. The reason: most of them have suffered the brunt of opposition BJP which could bloom lotus in their constituencies during the rural polls.
Many BJD leaders received shock of their lives when they found lotus blooming in their backyard ponds. Thanks to the rural polls which have forced the ruling party leaders to shun laidback life and move in the spirit of 2000, pointed out a Biju acolyte. BJD leaders have since then forgot personal differences and closed their ranks to keep BJP at bay.
This is not that Rout, Mishra and Sahoo alone are active but most of the BJD leaders have accepted it as a challenge. The leaders are sinking their differences as they are out to prove their mettle again.
Even old time rivals Damodar Rout and Bishnu Das have also started working together in Jagatsinghpur as the saffron party is making inroads into their region.
A lot of new political equations are emerging in the ruling party and there has been a sea change in the attitudes of BJD leaders. The antagonism between the older and the younger leaders are on the wane.
The younger leaders, who did not see eye to eye with their seniors, have started closing their ranks and holding talks on day to day basis. Both the groups now realize that it is the right time to unite and fight against the “communal” forces than quarreling among themselves.
The younger lot, like Arun Sahoo, Pranab Prakash Das, Atanu S Nayak, Sanjay Dasburma and others, has now started consulting their senior leaders. They have joined hands to fight the saffron brigade.
Meanwhile, BJD President and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has brought a number of reforms in the party which has reduced infighting. The virus that had made the BJD weak during the panchayat elections is now at its lowest ebb, which may benefit BJD. Many people in the BJD have now realized that they need to identify their enemies and face them united.
Besides their own constituencies, Naveen has allotted different districts to various senior leaders to ensure that BJD sits strong. Out of the Ministry, Sanjay Dasburma has been assigned Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts while Pranab Prakash Das has been put in charge of Koraput and Malkangiri districts. Arun Sahoo has been given responsibility of Mayurbhanj district where BJP captured most of the Zilla Parishad seats.
Veteran leader Damodar Rout has been put in charge of Dhenkanal. During last one month, he has visited the district more than 15 times to organize the cadre.
Debi Prasad Mishra is given responsibility of Sambalpur, considered a stronghold of the saffron party. Similarly, young leader Atanu S Nayak is put in charge of Balasore, where BJP is making inroads.
Many experienced leaders are sincerely doing their duty as assigned by Naveen. All the leaders have apparently one aim: to ensure defeat of BJP which was growing due to the weakness of Congress in many parts of the state.
Naveen has made a very elaborate strategy to counter BJP as it focuses on wards while Amit Shah targets booths. Two to three wards make a booth and BJD is guarding the wards while BJP focuses on booths.
As there is every possibility of holding general elections ahead of its schedule in 2019, Naveen and his party men do not want to take chances. Before going to polls, Naveen, sources said, has decided to keep his folks together.  And he has achieved the first task as leaders in BJD have now realized that their future is protected if they nurture their people.
Ahead of Amit Shah’s September visit, the ruling BJD has also drawn up an elaborate programme to maintain the lead over its rival at the grassroots level. The programme, spread over three months, will culminate with mass contact exercise across Odisha, to propagate the performance of the Government during the last 17 years.
Just to embarrass the Big Boss of BJP, the party has brought back Navin Swain of Hugulapata in Ganjam to their party fold, who provided sumptuous lunch at his home to Shah and his team during his last visit to Naveen Patnaik’s home turf.
Now even a ward member showing interest in BJP is counseled and full scale move is in place to make him work for the party and not to look the other way.
With such an approach towards the common workers in BJD, “Mishran Parva” of BJP has received a setback, admit saffron leaders.
When BJP national President raised the issue of lack of basic infrastructure in villages during his booth level programmes, the BJD interface with the people will focus on the achievements of the government despite central neglect.
While both veterans and green horns in BJD have joined hands and are working overtime for the party, social media campaign also continues.
Interestingly, within minutes of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik receiving “Best Administrator” Prize from the Former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, young elements of the party in far flung zones of Kandhamal and Boudh were busy uploading the photo of their leader in their Facebook pages.
This speaks volumes about the aggressiveness of the BJD strategists, who are out to outsmart the saffron brigade. Meanwhile, BJD dismissed BJP’s claim to win 120 of the 147 seats in the Assembly in the next general elections as a day dream.

"Let them dream. Nobody can stop that, but the ground reality is different," said a confident BJD Vice-President, Debi Prasad Mishra.


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