Home Minister Amit Shah visited Odisha on Monday (8 August). He addressed the Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery book release event at Bhubaneswar and whole-heartedly praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Shah expressed confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will form governments at the Centre and the state after the next Lok Sabha and assembly elections respectively, which are due in 2024.
Earlier, he attended the 75th anniversary of an Odia daily newspaper Prajatantra in Cuttack where he shared the stage with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. This was a part of his visits under 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'.
Shah said that 'acche din' (good days) have arrived for Odisha with people from the state occupying top posts in the country like never before as Droupadi Murmu became President of the country.
Shah also cited examples of Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Railways and Electronics and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (Rajya Sabha member from Odisha), RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das and Minister of State Bishweswar Tudu and claimed that Odisha never got such representation since Independence.
Stressing on President Murmu's humble background, coming from a tribal household, Shah said, "Constituent Assembly represented every section of the Indian society but it did not have a single tribal woman. Today, the democracy based on that Constitution is being headed by Murmu."
While Congress and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) might have rejected Shah’s assertion that the BJP will form the next government in Odisha, Shah seemed determined. During his visit, he met party workers from the state and tried to formulate a strategy to work on 2024 elections.
National Vice-President of BJP, Baijayant Jay Panda, who accompanied Shah on his visit, told Swarajya over phone from his Delhi office that a detailed strategy will be formulated soon, but for now, the workers have been asked to focus on three-four neighbouring areas apart from their own areas.
Dainik Bhaskar reported that BJP will work on three aspects. One, those candidates who lost by less than 5,000 votes have been asked to get active from now itself. These 11 Lok Sabha and 10 Vidhan Sabha candidates who lost by a thin margin have been asked to get aggressive.
Two, Shah has asked to identify the issues at micro-level — panchayat.
Three, BJP would want to talk about President Murmu occupying the highest office due to the efforts of PM Modi and the BJP.
Panda said that there is a general enthusiasm in the state for Murmu becoming the President. Naturally, BJP has earned people's goodwill, but they are not planning to "use" Preisdent Murmu's name for politics because they respect decorum of her post.
Before the 2019 assembly polls, the saffron party had claimed that it would win more than 120 seats in the 147-member house. However, it finally bagged 23 seats.
On being asked if the opposition might want to remind the party about Shah’s claim, Panda responded, "BJP is the second largest party in Odisha. The vote share of BJD peaked in 2019. It was on an increasing trend but that didn't happen in 2019. Congress has collapsed so its natural for them to take a dig at other parties."
He also pointed out that in 2019, there was an "ambiguity" about how to fight elections. "Decision was made too late which left us only one month for aggressive campaigning. Elections are not won in such a short span of time," he said over party's previous performance.
However, he claimed that there is no ambiguity this time and the strategy is being made from now only which "gives us hope for a head-on fight with BJD," while Congress is negligible. Panda rejected possibilities of any alliance with the BJD.
BJP's Odisha leadership is scheduled to meet for a three-day session at the end of this month. It is expected that a detailed strategy can be drafted during this session. However, Panda said that this is a regular training session that party organises in different states from time to time.
The BJD and the Congress had secured 112 and nine seats respectively in the last assembly elections. In terms of vote share, BJD secured 44.71 per cent votes, BJP 32.49 per cent votes and Congress secured 16.12 per cent votes.
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