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BJP: Time For Introspection

Bhubaneswar: A day after receiving hospitality at the Naveen Niwas, senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik publicly expressed regret for visiting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence. In a candid confession, Naik said that he and BJP should have returned from the main gate but entered into Naveen Niwas premises with good faith and hope that this would fulfil the party’s demand on paddy procurement. Naik felt sorry not for visiting Naveen’s residence without invitation, but for the CM not keeping his words. 

The saffron leaders entered the Naveen Niwas despite BJD leader and Cabinet Minister Pratap Jena ridiculing them. Jena said that the BJP MLAs’ sins would be washed away if they visit Naveen Niwas. This statement is insulting to every member of the BJP. Even though Jena made this statement while standing in front of the Naveen Niwas, neither the ruling party nor the Chief Minister condemned the remarks that insulted the guests who were earlier welcomed with flowers, tilakas, lassi amidst blowing of the conch. 

The situation became so humiliating that Mr.Naik had to raise the matter in the Assembly to draw the attention of the Treasury Bench. Till Saturday, there was no word from the BJD on Jena’s statement while Naik has been drawing flak from within the party rank and file for visiting the Naveen Niwas even after being humiliated at the main gate. This is not all; the Naveen Niwas gates, which remained open to members of the regional party, was suddenly closed down as soon as the BJP MLAs reached there.

People across the state have seen on television how the saffron lawmakers were sitting on the road in front of the Naveen Niwas. It is another matter that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself came down to the main gate to welcome Mr.Naik and his colleagues.

This is not that BJP was mistreated near the Naveen Niwas; instead, they went there to get humiliated, keeping in view the exchange of words between Jay Narayan Mishra and Pranab Prakash Das, the BJD’s General Secretary (Organisation) near the Lok Seva Bhavan. The indications given to the BJP MLAs at the Lok Seva Bhavan were enough to show that more humiliation awaited them as they marched towards Naveen Niwas. In other words, BJD did not humiliate BJP leaders; instead, the saffron party leaders preferred to get embarrassed themselves.

This is not the first time that the BJP has failed to make its points. The party, which is governing the country since 2014, has utterly failed to shake the 21-year-old Naveen Patnaik dispensation despite many shortcomings of the BJD Government, thanks to the policymakers and leaders of the BJP in Odisha.

Take the Smitarani death case in the Jajpur district. The BJP leaders made a state-wide noise after the body of a woman panchayat extension officer (PEO) was found in a private guest house allegedly run by a BJD leader with the active support of a ruling party lawmaker. The saffron party leaders shed gallons of tears and spent a lot of time but failed to get political mileage out of the incident, which was a politically sensitive issue and seriously bothering BJD Leadership.

For the second instance, one can analyze the kidnap, rape and murder of a 5-year-old little girl at Jadupur village in Nayagarh district. The BJP leaders from the state and the centre put their entire efforts to nail a Minister accusing him of protecting the main accused in the case. The issue generated much heat in the Assembly, which was adjourned for days. The saffron party leaders, including its National Spokesperson, Sambit Patra, employed the total strength to hand over the case to CBI. But, finally, the case remained in the hands of the Crime Branch of Police. And BJP’s agitation also failed to take the matter to a logical end while it is locked in a legal battle.

Similarly, in the Bagala Dharmasala land issue, the BJP leaders were on the streets and made it a significant point by adding religious sentiments into the matter. All BJP leaders’ efforts failed to yield any result, and the State Government went ahead with its decision.

Then comes the Mahanga double murder case. Here also, the BJP leaders have left no stone unturned to make it a major political issue. The party supporters, activists, leaders and sympathizers staged rallies, held meetings and shouted at the top of their voice to arrest the Law Minister. Though the Minister’s name figured in the FIR, the BJP leaders have utterly failed to mount pressure on the government to act against him.

There are a few more instances where BJP has utterly failed to bring about any conclusive end to any issue. The issues are aplenty against the BJD government, but the BJP has failed to take political advantage out of these incidents. The people of Odisha have elevated BJP as the main opposition party in the state after rejecting Congress. The BJP’s vote share in Odisha is entirely satisfactory at 38 per cent.

However, something appeared to be wrong in the BJP leadership, both in the state organization and in the Assembly, for the failure of the saffron party to put the BJD Government on the dock. Why is BJP unable to bring any political issue to any logical end? This is high time for the saffron policymakers to introspect before launching any agitation against the BJD Government.

There should be no doubt that Naveen heads the strongest party, which has never failed in any elections since 1997. He has a well-organized policy and strategy makers who have read the pulse of the people. And in fact, the BJP is no way a match for the tall man. BJP needs to have a think tank and political elements having ground touch to match the BJD if the saffron party targets to come to power in Odisha. The BJP has to decide first whether it wants to have a cordial relationship with the BJD or emerge as a genuine political rival as it has done in West Bengal.

The blow hot blow cold relationship between the two parties will never help BJP to oust BJD. BJP has to take a solid stand to convince people that they mean business.

They should not run to Naveen Niwas and receive hospitality while failing in the mandate given by people. Weighty introspection is the need of the hour for the saffron brigade, unless they think it over their failures, dethroning an astute Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will turn a daydream.