Bhubaneswar: While the general elections are just few months away in Odisha, two major opposition parties – the BJP and Congress are flexing their muscles to put best foot forward. BJP, which is making all out efforts to make inroads into Odisha to compensate its probable loss in Hindi heartland states where the party faced debacle recently and the Congress, which is trying to infuse new lease of life to its rank and file after Priyanka Gandhi’s entry into electoral poll, are facing the crisis of credible candidates for 147 assembly constituencies for locking horn with formidable Biju Janata Dal.
Even though, the candidates, who are lobbying hard for tickets, don’t enjoy support of other leaders and workers within the parties , be it Congress or the Modi’s BJP, both are marred with choosing a candidate, giving advantage to the BJD.
After its comparatively better performance in the last panchayat elections, the saffron party was seen as a force in Odisha politics which could disturb the inevitable, but soon lost its stem. Many political observers are of the opinion that BJP’s ambitious ‘Mission 120’ plus formula is a proved to be mirage. The recent speech of the central leadership also gave enough hint of it.
According to sources in the BJP, several prominent leaders in the party are likely to follow the Congress foot step to join ruling BJD. Thanks to groupism between Pradhan and Sarangi camp, what is more worrying for the saffron party is that most the leaders who unsuccessfully contested the last assembly elections and having some support base are not taking leading roles in strengthening the party at the grass root level in the State. Finding suitable candidates in the upcoming elections will be a major problem for the saffron party. The situation is alarming in the coastal region of the State.
If the BJP marred with candidate crisis, the situation is no better either for Odisha Congress. The newfound vigor within the grand old party after the appointment of Niranjan Patnaik as PCC president last year has completely lost its vitality ahead of the crucial elections. The party is once again a divided house with regular factional fights among the senior leaders. The expulsion of former Union Minister Srikant Jena and tribal leader Krushna Chandra Sagaria from the party has shown that turbulence continues to rock the Congress. The resignation of two sitting MLAs Naba Kishore Das and Jogesh Singh already put the party in dire straits. As per reports, six more sitting MLAs are likely to quit the Congress ahead of the elections. It is now an uphill task before the Central leadership to bring unity in its faction-ridden state unit. In the last elections, the performance of Congress was quite discouraging. It lost all 21 Lok Sabha seats and won just 16 of the 147 Vidhan Sabha seats.
The Odisha Congress is looking at Priyanka Gandhi force to revive its fortune with crossing fingers.
The BJD is however, going with all guns blazing at opposition and getting more powerful than ever before. All most all the recent surveys conducted by many organisations have predicted that charismatic Naveen Patnaik is all set to become Chief Minister against for record 5th term in State and could be a King maker at national level.