After a brief lull, BJP has renewed its attacks on the Patnaik govt for slow development rate, corruption.
Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, who visited Odisha on September 22 and 24 respectively, have put to rest all speculations about a pre-poll alliance with the regional Biju Janata Dal (BJD) headed by chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
Both the leaders called for Parivartan (change) of government in Odisha, to enable the state to achieve “faster growth” like other BJP-ruled states in the country and end “corruption” patronised by the Naveen Patnaik government for over 18 years now.
On September 22, while addressing two public meetings at Talcher and Jharsuguda, Mr Modi appeared quite blunt in his attack on the CM and BJD president Naveen Patnaik. He accused the BJD government of “corruption” and “nepotism” and alleged that the Central funds given to Odisha were “misutilised, diverted and siphoned off”. The PM also condemned in strongest words the state government’s “failure” to provide the paddy growers of the state the Minimum Support Price (MSP) announced by the Union government.
“The Central funds in Odisha are being misutilised and diverted. Farmers are not being given the MSP of paddy. The BJD government, in a desperate bid to cling onto power, is not allowing Ayushman Bharat healthcare programme to be implemented in Odisha,” said the PM.
Two days later, BJP president Amit Shah at a meeting in Puri resumed the party’s attack on the BJD. He blamed the Naveen Patnaik government for “rising atrocities” on women and poverty in the state. The BJP chief, while calling upon the party workers to overthrow the BJD government to put the state on “fast-track growth,” said his party would come to power in the state in 2019 polls and on the day of assuming power, it would implement the Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme.
A section of political analysts even contended that the BJD, which was an NDA partner from 1998 to 2009, might rejoin the BJP-led front as because of its anti-Congress character and identical ideology.
Until recently, the BJP’s silence over the multi-crore chit fund scam and mining irregularities worth over thousands of crore rupees in Odisha was proffered by political analysts as sign of “growing cozy relationship” between the two parties. The analysts maintained that since the BJD which won 20 of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha in 2014 was most likely to win maximum number of Lok Sabha seats in 2019, the BJP would keep the regional party in good humour to compensate for loss of seats in the states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
With the PM and Mr Shah snubbing the Naveen government in public meetings and giving a call to party workers and leaders for a change of government in Odisha, the saffron party has made its stand clear that nothing less than power in Odisha is its motto.
“We have set a target to get 120-plus seats of the 147 Assembly seats in Odisha. The rivals who are dismissing our claim are living in a fool’s paradise and doing this at their own cost. We would certainly do better than our target,” Mr Shah said.
In 2014, the BJP won 10 Assembly and one Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. It came second in at least 32 Assembly seats and eight Lok Sabha constituencies. Its impressive performance in 2017 rural polls in which it pushed the Congress to the third position has emboldened the party to dream for power. In rural polls, famously known as panchayat elections, the BJP got over 33 per cent votes against 18 per cent.
In fact since 2016, the BJP national president has galvanised party’s machinery in all the 36,000 booths in Odisha targeting at least 1.40 crore votes — 400 votes from each booth to reach the 120-plus seat target in 2019 Assembly polls.
Fight to finish
PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have put to rest speculations about a possible pre-poll alliance with the regional BJD in 2019
Modi accused the BJD govt of ‘corruption’ and ‘nepotism’ and alleged that the Central funds given to Odisha were ‘misutilised’
Earlier, there were signs of a possible agreement between BJD, BJP after Naveen Patnaik backed the NDA candidate in Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson’s elections
The anti-Congress character and identical ideology of BJD and BJP were expected to bring the former allies together, but now there are signs of an all-out war between the two