Opportunity For Congress


It should be advantage the third party as two others fight. But this is not always the case. In politics, two plus two is not always four.

It may be 22 or 04. Such a situation has arisen in Odisha politics when the third party is placed in a position of advantage as the two other parties draw nearer.

This is the prevailing situation in Odisha politics where a favourable condition has been created for Congress as the warring BJD and BJP close ranks.

Though both BJD and BJP were engaged in a bitter fight ahead of the 2019 general elections, situation has completely changed after the announcement of results.
The ‘Jala Hua Transformer’ (burnt out transformer) before elections is now ‘Most Effective Engine’ for BJP.

This is evident from Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s latest statement in Nagpur on 2 January, where he inaugurated the new campus of the National Fire Service College.
Mr.Shah was all praise for Odisha’s BJD Government and lauded Naveen’s disaster management capability.
The day, 2 January was also a remarkable day for Odisha when Prime Minister Modi handed over Krushi Karman award to Odisha’s Agriculture and Farmer Empowerment Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo.

This is not all. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also praised Naveen’s effective management of Fani cyclone, while addressing a function in Japan. The top leaders of BJP and the central government leave no opportunity to praise Naveen and his government. 

Naveen has been encouraged over the praise showered by the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister and is going all out to offer help to BJP. Sometimes, Naveen’s BJD has been more friendly to the central government than the NDA partners.

 And BJP has also been benefitted from Naveen’s hearty gestures. Notwithstanding his party’s political interest, Naveen gave away a Rajya Sabha seat to BJP by supporting Ashwini Vaishaw. Even no NDA partner has shown such generosity as Naveen did.

This is also a new trend in Indian politics where an opposition party politically supports the ruling party.       

In the 2019 general elections, the people of Odisha voted for Naveen’s BJD and chose Modi-Shah’s BJP as the principal opposition after rejecting the Congress party.

Therefore, as per the norms, the principal opposition should oppose the state government’s wrong policies and it is the responsibility of BJP to fight for people’s interest. 

However, things are not happening like that, as the BJP leaders in Odisha are utterly confused regarding what to do and what not to do in view of the Modi-Shah duo’s public praise for Naveen and his government.

 When both the ruling and opposition parties are on the same page on every issue in the Parliament, the state BJP leaders are utterly confused. They are unable to take stand against the state government fearing an axe from Modi-Shah. “We are embarrassed over many issues,” said a senior BJP lawmaker.

However, the situation has brought cheers to Congress leaders in Odisha. Now the Congress party, in all respects, is the main opposition party in Odisha as BJD and BJP have closed ranks. “People are now clearly aware of it.

They have seen how BJD and  BJP fought each other before elections and now they are engaged in opportunistic politics,” said OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik.

According to political analysts, the bonhomie between BJD and BJP has ultimately left Congress as the lone opposition party in Odisha. The friendliness between two BJ (D & P) parties at the Centre has practically infused new energy into the Congress in Odisha.

Though it has only nine MLAs in the 147-Member Odisha Legislative Assembly, the Congress has already emerged as the main opposition in the state. The party, which was struggling to set its house in order with a new leadership in place, has smelt its chances and seems to be in an overdrive to cash in on the discomfiture in the camps of both BJD and BJP after several developments.

As the Government gets older by the day, the proximity between Mr.Modi and Mr.Patnaik increasing steadily, insiders admit.
Prime Minister Mr.Modi called up Naveen and expressed his condolence following the demise of the CM’s brother-in-law. Mr.Modi gave a message that he called up Naveen not only to seek his support on issues, but also to express grief during his family tragedy.

Though there is no secret of the cordial relationship between BJD and BJP, Congress has utterly failed to take advantage of the situation.

There is a wide gap between the top-level leadership and the grassroots level workers. Panchayat-level leaders have meanwhile shifted their allegiance either to BJD or to BJP. Can a dying person regain his appetite even if sweets are offered to her/ him? 

The Congress high command, which has been severely hit by the Modi wave at the national level, has little scope or effort to think about the party organization in Odisha. The inability of the veteran leader Niranjan Patnaik was exposed in the 2019 general elections. His resignation as the OPCC President has not been accepted. 

There is no effort to revive the party though Niranjan has, for the last two months, been attempting to take up issues against the state’s BJD government. However, it appears as one-man show as the OPCC is operating sans its members.

Senior leaders Pradip Majhi, Chiranjib Biswal, Jayadev Jena and many others are functioning independently and there is no united effort to project any issue against the state government.

Under such circumstances, can the Congress win the hearts of people and take advantage of BJD-BJP’s honeymoon? The Congress, as a political party in Odisha, has failed miserably to rise to the occasion and provide an alternative to the present ruling dispensation. 

Mr.Patnaik continued to rule the state, as ‘there is no alternative’ to him, either in the Congress or in the BJP. Can Congress break Naveen’s TINA factor? 

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