Home Editorial Saffron Smells Blood

Saffron Smells Blood

Bhubaneswar: Killing of  Naba Kisore Das has turned out to be a ‘Changing Agent’ in Odisha Politics. While Governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) lost a ‘Field Marshal’ in Western Odisha, this horrible incident has emboldened Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in smelling blood.

The old ally of the regional BJD has stepped up its agitation and this time, the BJP’s steering with Sambalpur Strong Man Jaynarayan Mishra, who is also the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Odisha Legislative Assembly. Though Shri Mishra is not the BJP’s State President, he has been leading the party from the front both outside and inside the Odisha Assembly. The Saffron Stalwart has been hitting BJD where it hurts.

Never before, the Governing BJD headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patanik had ever focused on one saffron leader and has now trained guns towards Shri Mishra. The people of Odisha have also witnessed BJD leaders and activists burning effigies of Shri Mishra while the saffron party reciprocated it by setting fire on Naveen’s effigies. The effigy burning incidents have also become a daily ritual in the Odisha politics. This is not all, there is not a senior leader in the BJD who has not called Shri Mishra a regular offender or even criminal after he allegedly pushed a woman police inspector during an agitation in Sambalpur. The women BJD MLAs including the Lady Ministers also met the OLA Speaker Bikram Keshari Arukha demanding removal of Shri Mishra from the post of Leader of Opposition. They also publicly expressed their fear that the women lawmakers do not feel secure in the House while Shri Mishra is present after he allegedly misbehaved with a woman cop.

As Shri Mishra is leading the party from the front he has turned as ‘TRP Master’ for Television Channels. LOP has also named certain top officials and politicians and directly accused them of their involvement in the Minister’s killing. He is yet to provide any concrete evidence thus making a flutter in the state politics.

In the meantime Shri Mishra has been booked under different non-bailable offence charges, but the State Police did not arrest him as it will further boost the image of the LoP. The ruling party leadership feels that if at all, the Police arrests Shri Mishra, his image will be boosted among the saffron rank and file and he also gain currency among the people in western region of the state. The police did not arrest him despite former Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik publicly saying that he (Mishra) should be behind bars if it was Maharashtra. However, the government, which is as such facing continious agitations following Naba Das killing, does not want to further escalate the situation.

In fact statements issued by LoP have spurred much heat and it appears unmanageable. Though the Government has earlier resolved many issues and managed leaders of its own party and those in opposition using different methods, Shri Mishra does not fit to the scheme of things. No pressure or threat works against Saffron Strong Man as he has come out with a commitment to attack the BJD and Government in any means. If one leader becomes fearless, it is really tough to handle him. This is what is happening in the case of Shri Mishra, who meanwhile has got the support of the party in Odisha. However, no one is sure whether the BJP’s central leadership also supports Shri Mishra.

After breaking its electoral alliance with the BJP in 2009, Naveen Patnaik’s regional party has all along maintained a cordial relationship with the BJP’s Central Leadership. Naveen is the only Chief Minister in the country who has a special relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A phone call from PM Modi ensured victory of Ashiwini Vaishnaw in the Rajya Sabha elections even as the BJP in Odisha did not have required support. Therefore, Naveen all along maintained cordial relationship with Shri Modi by supporting the central government in all controversial issues like demonetization, Kashmir issue, amendment of MMDR Act, Triple Talaq,  J&K issue and many others, Even Naveen’s BJD did not strongly oppose the three agricultural acts which was later withdrawn by the central government in the face of protests from farmers across the country.

Naveen by his unique style of politics, keeps National BJP happy as Narendra Modi and Amit Shah know it pretty well that the BJD Chief was more trustworthy than the BJP leaders and Chief Ministers. During its alliance during 2000- 2009, BJD has never put the NDA in trouble and never believed in bargaining tactics. Even though Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar, Uddhav Thakre and Akali Dal leaders separated from NDA and turned strong foes, Naveen’s BJD remained as a trusted friend of BJP. Keeping Naveen’s politics in view, he has never supported Congress or any other third front or the fourth front. He has been going all alone in the state and supports the NDA at the centre by means of well measured political measurements.

Naveen’s closeness to the central leadership has all along damaged the BJP’s prospect in Odisha. The people do not believe in BJP because it often takes help from Naveen at the centre. Therefore, the opposition Congress often ridicules them as saying that both BJD and BJP are two sides of one coin.

However, under the changed circumstances when Shri Mishra is leading the BJP from the front, there seems a possible change of political situation in Odisha. The BJP central leadership may not drop Shri Mishra from the LoP as Governing BJD demands. This is because, Shri Mishra has emerged as a strong leader among the saffron outfit and he gets support from the rank and file for his non-compromising attitude. The BJP rank and file believes that Shri Mishra’s fight heads towards a conclusive end and he is performing his role as Opposition Leader. However, some people do not like his manner of functioning. His acts and political attitude may change the relation between the BJD and the BJP in the near future. With his disruptive approach Saffron Brigade is smelling blood!