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BJP Changes Strategy

Bhubaneswar: Failing to corner the Governing BJD headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Odisha’s Principal Opposition Party- the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), appears to have changed its strategy. The changes are observed after party stalwart and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s close door meeting with BJP state functionaries here recently.

The change in strategy was essential for the BJP which unsuccessfully targeted Naveen Patnaik and his party. The BJP has been targeting Naveen since 2009 after its alliance with BJD broke. However, the saffron party has not been successful and Naveen’s flag continued to fly high despite opposition from both the BJP and the Congress. Therefore, the Saffron Think Tank considers that it is better to try to defeat in other ways, by not attacking Naveen, but highlighting wrong doings of the 23 year-old BJD Government in the state.

The people of Odisha might have rejected the BJP’s act of attacking Naveen Patnaik in person. As the next general elections for the Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly approach fast, the BJP needs to change in order to bring change in the state politics, to fulfill its dreams of occupying the third floor of the Lok Seva Bhawan.  

One should observe BJP’s face in Odisha and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s change in attitude as well as approach towards Naveen Patnaik. Recently while giving an interview to a National News Agency in Delhi, Shri Pradhan praised Shri Patnaik, admitted his qualities as a human being and a leader. Similarly while attending some functions last week in Odisha, Shri Pradhan also claimed that he knew Naveen since 1998 when the latter was a Minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee cabinet. Naveen Babu would not allow undemocratic elements in the administration; Dharmendra said and blamed the State Government over the “bureaucratic activism” in the state. He also warned the officers to remain within ‘Laxman Rekha’ while on the other hand hailing the chief minister’s qualities.

This seems to be the new ‘Mantra’ of BJP leaders as the main opposition party in Odisha. However, Leader of Opposition, Jaynarayan Mishra leaves no stone unturned while attacking the BJD Government. Shri Mishra after the BJP’s core committee meeting on Sunday launched a scathing attack and blamed Naveen of allowing his government to handle by bureaucrats. He said the people had voted Naveen to rule over the state not by officer. The people will this time in the 2024 general elections will prefer BJP as they do not like to be ruled by an officer. Shri Mishra, who is vocal against Naveen also did not say much on the Chief Minister rather trained his guns towards officers.

Similarly, BJP State President Manmohan Samal also attacks the state government and never names Naveen for anything. Shri Samal is of the view that the BJP will come to power after 2024 elections even as he is yet to constitute district committees leave alone the fate of booth committees. After assuming charge of the Odisha BJP, Shri Samal has only named some state functionaries. Though the general elections are barely some months left, he has not set up his teams across the state, but still claims to form the government. What is the secret of Man Mohan’s claim? Are his claims going to meet the fate of Amit Shah’s 120 plus mission? In fact, Shri Samal’s statement confuses many in the politics here including his party rank and file. While BJD has been hand in gloves with BJP at the central level, how can the saffron rank and file fight against the Naveen’s BJD in villages?

However, people who know BJP’s region in charge, Sunil Bansal, suspect that there should be some secret mechanism with the saffron party which may be used during election time to come to the power in Odisha.  One clear possibility is that the BJP may go for poaching the disgruntled BJD MLAs to form a government after elections. Though there is no challenge to Naveen’s leadership in the state, in event of any other development within the ruling BJD, the BJP may get some opportunity to form the government. However, the top BJP leadership keeps its strategy close to their chests and does not reveal the ways to justify Shri Samal’s claim of forming the government in 2024.    

If one goes in a straight way, Naveen Patnaik is certainly ahead of other leaders in the state. His party is also leading in similar manner while both the opposition, the BJP and Congress, are still unable to keep their houses in order. Despite all odds, both the BJP and the Congress claim to form government after 2024 elections while the BJD is confident that Naveen will make history by becoming Chief Minister of Odisha sixth time in a row. As of today, BJD is ‘Number One’ followed by BJP and the Congress. However with BJP changing its’ strategy, political observers keeping a watch over the developments.