Bhubaneswar: Despite the fact that the state BJP is putting up a brave face for the recently concluded parliamentary and assembly polls, its position is not better than that of one step forward and two steps back. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit is facing a severe crisis of internal feuds and bitter squabble not only at the State level but the roots go deeper into the ground level too.
Senior BJP leaders including former Brajrajnagar MLA Radharani Panda openly blamed internal bickering and squabble for the party’s defeat in the Assembly elections. Panda, who lost the polls by 11,000 votes, told media persons that “intra-party feud” spoiled the BJP’s winning prospects in many seats, including her own.
While the saffron party in the State was able to raise its tally from one to eight seats in the Lok Sabha, it could pluck only 23 lotus flowers into its kitty in Assembly polls. It is contrary to the party President Amit Saha’s call to wrest as many as 120 seats.
Firebrand leader and Union Minister Pratap Sarangi also indirectly saying that the party is suffering from people like Mir Jafars and Mir Qasims. He had also cautioned such forces, telling them they would meet the fate of traitors.
There are hundreds of Mir Jafars and Mir Qasims in the party and there is also feud in the top leadership of the state unit, said a leader on the condition of anonymity. When there is a feud in the top level there is bound to have people like Mir Jafars and Mir Qasims at the grassroots level. It is haunting the party badly at the ground level specially at the district and Mandal levels.
Leaders like Rabi Nayak (Kuchinda), Surama Padhi (Ranpur), Biswa Ranjan Mallick (Bari), Amar Nayak (Badachana), who have suffered defeat in the assembly polls, openly talk about the feuds within the party and traitors within the party to be the factors responsible for their defeat.
The absence of senior leaders and newly elected parliamentarians like Aparajita Sarangi, Suresh Pujari, and Jual Oram from the felicitation meeting held at Bhubaneswar also added fuel to the belief that everything is not well at the leadership level. Even though, Aparajita made her maiden journey to parliament as a law maker, she was reportedly in the race to grab a Ministry due to her close proximity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sarangi , however was not inducted to the council of ministers. Her followers however believe that Dharmendra Paradhan who is reportedly not in good terms with Sarangi has acted as a road block for Sarangi.
There is an open battle going on between these two leaders, said a leader on the condition of anonymity. At a time, when the party is suffering from feud and infighting, its senior leader and union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan however vowed for political struggle till the party achieves the goal of winning 120 seats in the Assembly.
Reacting to Pradhan’s ambitious target of 120 in 2024, political observers however say, if the feud, internal infighting both at the State and grassroots level continuous, instead of 120, the saffron party may reduce its tally to single digit.