Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah has charted the party’s Mission Odisha during his three-day-long tour to the eastern state. The master-strategist presented a road map for ousting Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government in the 2019 Assembly elections.
Shah’s Odisha visit aims at reviving the party’s infrastructure in the state at the grassroot levels. It was part of his 110-day-long countrywide whirlwind tour to galvanise the party cadre and expand the BJP’s footprints in the birth centenary year of party’s ideologue Deendayal Upadhayaya.
Amit Shah’s tour across the nation focuses on taking stock of the party’s organisational strength, further expansion of ideology and electoral appeal. Odisha is the fourteenth state the BJP president has toured as part of his 110-day-long countrywide tour.
Odisha features prominently in BJP’s scheme of things. So far the state has been one of the unconquered territories. But the BJP president is confident of winning the state in the next Assembly elections in 2019.
“The BJP will secure two-third majority in the 2019 Assembly elections and form the next government in Odisha,” a confident Shah said while addressing party workers in Bhubaneswar as he winded down his three-day-long Odisha tour on Thursday. The BJP president exhorted party workers not to rest till the party captured the power in Odisha.
Shah travelled more than 400 km by road in three days. Taking on BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is considered as a “high-flyer” in politics, the BJP president said, “I have travelled to various places in Odisha in these three days. But it was not like an aerial visit by Naveen Patnaik. I sensed the mood of people of Odisha in favour of the BJP.”
“The high-flying Chief Minister has failed to grasp and address the people’s problems,” he added.
Amit Shah launched his three-day-long grassroot connect drive from Patnaik’s home turf Ganjam on 4 July to deliver a message to the Odisha Chief Minister and his BJD. Ganjam is the district where Patnaik’s Hinjili Assembly constituency is located. Shah took part in the Mo Booth Sabuthu Majboot (My Booth is the Strongest) programme in Hugulapata village in Ganjam. He interacted with locals, addressed a public meeting and had lunch with at a Dalit household in Hugulapata village.
Shah went on a door-to-door campaign at Hugulapata village of Kukudakhandi Block in Ganjam district. He discussed with the villagers about various welfare programmes implemented by the Narendra Modi government.
At Berhampur, Shah addressed a huge gathering of party’s booth level workers from Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal districts.
At Hugulapata in Ganjam, the BJP chief launched a scathing attack on the Naveen Patnaik government. Shah lashed out at the BJD government for the migration of labour force from Odisha to other States.
“It is unfortunate that this labour force, which is helping in the development of other States, is not used for the development of Odisha,” he said.
On the second day of his Odisha tour on 5 July, the BJP president visited the historical Biraja Temple in Jajpur and offered prayer. Later addressing public meetings at various places, including Arei and Panikoili in Jajpur district, Shah attacked the “misrule” and “inefficiency” of the Naveen Patnaik government for the under-development of Odisha despite the State being endowed with rich natural resources.
“The BJD dispensation in Odisha has failed miserably to ensure development during its 17-year rule. It is a paradox that Odisha, which is endowed with abundant mineral and natural resources, is left far behind in terms of development,” Shah said.
At Panikoili in Jajpur, Shah addressed BJP’s booth level workers of north Odisha districts.
The BJP present said during the last three years of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, the grants for Odisha has increased many fold, but Naveen Patnaik government has failed to utilise the funds, leaving the state in the grip of poverty and backwardness.
On the last day of his Odisha tour, Shah held a massive road show from Kalpana square to Basantpur in the state capital of Bhubaneswar.
Later he visited Basantpur village – under in Ekamra assembly constituency – which is located at the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The BJP president was given a traditional welcome there. Shah met people from different social and economic strata in the village. He went to Booth No-191 in Basantpur village and spent some time at a Dalit house and had famous Odisha snacks moodi.
Addressing a huge public rally in Bhubaneswar, Shah said, “BJP alone is capable of pulling Odisha out of the morass and steer the state on the path of rapid development.”
In Odisha, this time Naveen Patnaik is staring at a strong anti-incumbency as there are a galaxy of issues – ranging from corruption, to misgovernance – plaguing the state. In the last Pachayat elections, the BJP succeeded in making a giant stride in Odisha politics, leaving Patnaik’s BJD in a tailspin. With renewed hope and new vigour, the BJP is sanguine about riding a saffron surge in the land of Shree Jagannath and Amit Shah was seen wearing that confidence during his three-day tour.
Political writer, policy observer.