The BJD and CM Naveen Patnaik has been shaken after two of the party’s senior MPs, Baijayant Panda.
Bhubaneswar: All three major political parties in Odisha are in a disarray due to internal bickering. The BJD, which until recently was sailing smoothly under the leadership of party president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik, has been shaken after two of the party’s senior MPs, Baijayant Panda and Bhartruhari Mahatab, wrote articles in newspapers highlighting the rot in the party.
Meanwhile, member of Parliament, Tathagat Satpathy’s remark that the BJD, like the Congress and the BJP, had thieves in it, added to the woes of Mr Patnaik. Alarmed, the chief minister, who for the last 17 years had kept himself away from interactions with his party leaders and people, has started meeting them.
Forsaking inhibitions, a reticent Mr Patnaik has started visiting shopping malls regularly on the pretext of buying books, and other public places in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, to mingle with common people and take selfies with them, which his office extensively shares on his official social media platforms to project him as a people-friendly figure.
Besides, the chief minister has also begun interactions, albeit in Hindi and English (Naveen cannot speak Odia), with grassroots leaders of his party to keep the flock united. Congress, which ruled the state for nearly 40 years, is literally in a moribund state since it lost power in 2000 as the factional leaders refused to shed their dreams of becoming the chief minister.
The regular dabbling of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) in the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) just on the eve of Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, has always backfired for the party.
A sudden change of guard in the PCC, on the eve of every Assembly polls, has always resulted in further decimation of the party.
Of late, as the grand old party prepares to go the polls, factionalism has once again reared its head, with leaders baying for the blood of incumbent PCC chief Prasad Harichandan.
They hold him responsible for the party’s debacle in the panchayat elections.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is eyeing to wrest power in the state from the BJD in 2019, also does not find itself in a comfort zone.
Some of the senior leaders are sulking over getting “sidelined.” Senior BJP leaders like Bijoy Mohapatra and Dilip Ray are yet to come to terms over the projection of Dharmendra Pradhan as teh party’s face for the upcoming assembly polls in 2019.
Mr Pradhan’s colleague and union minister Jual Oram, also a contender for the post of chief minister in the state, appears in no mood leave the battle for supremacy in the state organisation easily, thus giving jitters to the party’s central strategists who see Odisha as a pasture up for grabs.