Surat(Gujarat): A huge turnout at Union petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s Odia Parv or Odia festival at Surat has alarmed the ruling BJD in Odisha.
Nearly a fifty thousand peopled turned out to witness the inaugural session of the two-day Odia Parv. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani inaugurated the event.
Nearly seven lakh Odias, most whom hail from the Odisha chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik’s Ganjam district, are living in Surat. BJP strategists believe the massive gathering at Odia Parv was a clear indication of people’s growing love for the party. During elections, the BJD leaders visit Surat to woo Odias. The local Odia leaders here return to Odisha and actively participate in the campaign process, ensuring massive victory for the BJD that won 116 of the 147 seats in the 2014 assembly polls.
Though the BJP leaders tried to portray the Odia Parv as a just a cultural event to organised for the Odias, — political analysts however maintained that it was in fact a show of strength in reply to the BJD’s continuous exercise to hold on to their vote bank in Surat.
A few days before, senior BJD leader accompanied by a party MLA from Ganjam district had visited Surat to woo the Odias ahead of the 2019 assembly elections.
Add to the success of the Odia Parv, the overwhelming presence of as many as 600 prospective inve-stors at the Investors’ Conclave held here by the Union petroleum and natural gas ministry has also worried the BJD leaders. The investors promised over `17,000 crore investments to textile and plastic sectors.
In Bhubaneswar, senior BJD leader and Odisha industry minister Ananta Das sought to downplay Dharmendra’s investors’ conclave and said no investment would be possible without the state government’s support and cooperation, - dropping hints that the BJD was not going to cooperate with the BJP’s efforts.
Notably, the Union PNG minister Mr Pradhan had on Sunday made a fervent appeal to investors of Gujarat to invest in Odisha, especially in textile and plastics sectors, assuring them of consistent and adequate supply of required raw materials by IndianOil Corporation’s (IOCL) Paradip oil refinery unit.
“Besides raw materials, Odisha has necessary infrastructure, including two ports at Paradip and Dhamra, railway connectivity and road networks that will facilitate the development of the two sectors,” said Mr Pradhan.