Bhubaneswar, October 10 (PTI) When BJP leader Narendra Modi convened India’s “Mukta Congress” ahead of the 2014 general election, many non-congressional parties, including Biju Janata Dal (BJD) from Odisha, who saw the big old party as its main rival, apparently applauded the plan.
The regional formation led by Naveen Patnaik partnered with the BJP and became part of the NDA with the goal of ousting if not marginalizing Congress from power. The BJD-BJP alliance led a coalition government from 2000-2009 in Odisha. However, the bonhomie between the BJD and the BJP ended in disputes over the sharing of seats and the electoral partners took different routes.
Twenty years after joining the anti-Congress movement and gradually eroding the base of the country’s oldest party at the local level, the ruling BJD now finds itself in a different position where the BJP has become its main rival, a deputy noted. President. -President of BJD.
BJD insiders have now realized that making Odisha the “Congress Mukt” had not benefited the regional party, but rather helped the BJP to grow in the state.
The BJP now wins the majority of votes from the tribals, Dalits and backward classes in the elections, which at one time formed the electoral base of Congress. While the minorities that also formed the electoral base of Congress escaped the BJD.
Not gaining the support of the minority community vote in Odisha is not at all a problem for the BJP, as Christians make up only 2.77 percent and Muslims only 2.17 percent of the population of the country. ‘State. Therefore, the Hindutva policy of the BJP is sufficient to help the Saffron Party develop in Odisha.
In his attempt to counter the Hindutva image of the BJP, BJD Chairman Naveen Patnaik, in his fifth term from 2019, adopted a policy where places of worship of different religions are being developed. The state government has launched a Rs 3,200 crore Jagannath Heritage Corridor project. Naveen Patnaik called Lord Jagannath the symbol of Odia’s esteem and pride.
The CM also announced a package of Rs 200 crore for the development of the Maa Samaleswari temple in Sambalpur. In the 2021-22 budget, the state government also announced an allocation of 742 crore rupees for the development of the Jagannath Shrine in Puri and the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar. There were also announcements of support for the temples of Mayurbhanj and Kendrapara.
Patnaik, who turns 75 on October 16, 2021 and has been the CM since 2000, has never been known to be openly religious despite visiting the Jagannath Temple during the launch of election campaigns and after winning the election, as has his legendary father Biju. Pataik used to do this.
However, after 2019, Patnaik focused on religious issues and adopted policies to popularize the language and culture of Odia, in his efforts to counter BJP. “Naveen Patnaik in his 5th term has started practicing Gentle Hindutva,” said CPI (M) leader Ali Kishore Patnaik.
The results of Pipili’s recently announced by-elections saw Congress lose its backing, winning just 4,261 votes (2.37%) out of 1,80,930 votes.
Although Naveen’s BJD retained the Pipili siege and won it by a margin of 20,916 votes, it had a tough fight. The BJP candidate won 42 percent of the vote against 53.8 percent of the BJD. Obtaining 42% of the vote “is not an easy task,” said BJP State President Samir Mohanty.
As the state’s three main parties – the BJD, BJP and Congress prepare for the three-tire panchayat elections and subsequent urban polls in 2022, Naveen Patnaik’s regional party sees a tough time future. “With no Congress or minimal presence of the oldest party in the race, it will be a one-on-one fight between the BJD and the BJP in the rural and urban polls. Therefore, it is natural that the BJP can get the advantage in many seats, ”said political scientist Braja Kishore Mishra.
According to political observers, the results of the rural polls will show how the political wind could blow in the general election of 2024. The BJP, which increased the number of its Zilla Parishad members from 36 seats in 2012 to 297 in the rural polls of 2017 , eventually became the state’s main opposition party after the 2019 general election.
Congress, which was the main opposition party from 2000 to 2019, finished third.
The BJP won 23 assembly seats and 8 lok sabha seats in the 2019 general election, while Congress reduced its numbers to 9 in assembly and 1 in Lok Sabha.
While Naveen’s party won 651 ZP seats in the 2012 rural elections, it won 473 seats in the 2017 election. Although the BJD was able to maintain the number of seats in the assembly by winning 113 constituencies, it lost eight seats at Lok Sabha. Its candidates could only win 12 LS seats against 20 seats in the 2014 legislative elections. Odisha has 147 members in the State Assembly and 21 seats in Lok Sabha. Panchayat polls are a major indicator for all parties for the upcoming parliamentary elections and therefore crucial.
In view of the rural elections that followed, the ruling BJD has already started working on the ground and its star activist, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has now started to travel to different districts. So far, Naveen has visited Malkangiri, Sundergarh, Bolangir, Gajapati, Puri and Deogarh districts to start the distribution of smart health cards under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY).
Party sources said the chief minister would complete his visit to the 30 districts before the dates for the upcoming panchayat elections were announced. However, this time around, local MPs and MPs who transcend party lines are invited to the Patnaik meeting.
In all the meetings held so far, opposition lawmakers have praised Patnaik for launching the smart health card for the poor. However, the BJP legislator is also keen to demand the implementation of the Ayushman Bharat program of the Center. BJD lawmakers also attend the same meeting to explain how BSKY is much better than the Ayushman Bharat program as it covers 96 lakhs of families and Rs 10 lakhs is worth free treatment for women.
“We will raise issues such as the rural housing scam, law and order, atrocities against women, especially petty rape and other similar issues in the panchayat polls that follow. Let the people decide how the state government avoided the implementation of several central social protection programs in Odisha, ”said BJP lawmaker Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, who recently exchanged words with BJD MP Pinaki Mishra at a smart health card distribution meeting held in Brahmagiri in Puri district. . PTI AAM
Disclaimer: – This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI