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After UP, Is BJP Now Eyeing Odisha?


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25 March 2017

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo


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Bhubaneswar: Buoyed by the stupendous success and historic victory in the recently concluded assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, deemed as the nerve centre of Indian politics, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has perhaps made Odisha its next target as evident from the saffron party’s two-day-long national executive meeting here in the State capital city slated on April 15 and 16.

What holds more credence is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP’s prime poster boy-cum-vote banker, is scheduled to grace it besides the Chief Ministers of all the BJP-ruled States, including new UP CM Yogi Adityanath, veteran bigwigs L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and their other cabinet colleagues are scheduled to attend it.

This was informed to media at the airport here on Saturday by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Briefing media, Pradhan said, “The information was passed on to us yesterday (Friday). We’re elated that Odisha has been chosen as the venue for the two-day national executive meeting of our party. Party’s Odisha in-charge Arun Singh and national Joint secretary Soudan Singh will visit the state tomorrow (Sunday) to review the preparations for the national executive meet on April 15 and 16. The way people of Odisha have accorded their mandate in favour of the party in the recent Panchayat polls, all our senior national leaders wish to come over and thank the electorate here for the love and support showered on BJP.”

Reacting to it, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra remarked, “Every party wishes that its organisation should be strong and sturdy and win the polls. That’s why programmes are arranged accordingly. What’s wrong with it? Taking into consideration the vote garnered in Zilla Parishad is not suffice. It also needs to be examined which party has gained how many Sarpanch and Panchayat Samiti chief posts. Because, they are the only persons who are able to influence the voters at the grassroots level.”

BJD spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera in his reactions commented, “A national level party can hold its national executive meeting at any place of India. If they wish they can also hold such meeting abroad. The meeting can also be arranged at a five star hotel or a public place. It solely depends on the concerned party’s decision. If they (BJP party) hold it in Odisha, the people have no objection. If the party thinks that such a meeting will yield any political dividends, it doesn’t hold water. The party, having tasted some temporary success in the Panchayat elections, should rather introspect. If they look into, they could know well that they have lost in the Sarpanch and Panchayat Samiti elections despite having won some Zilla Parishad seats. Hence, I don’t hope that the national executive meeting will have any political impact on Odisha.”

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Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister, Petroleum & Natural Gas

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Narasingha Mishra, Leader of Opposition (Congress), Odisha

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Sashi Bhusan Behera, Spokesperson, BJD, Odisha