Sujit Kumar Pruseth
The Odisha politics has started witnessing political storms of late. Last week only the Prime Minister Modi visited Odisha and dedicated six mega projects.
The highlight of his visit to Odisha was the sharp attack on the ruling BJD and its supremo Naveen Patnaik at two political rallies in Talcher and Jharsuguda.
The Prime Minister’s speech was full of narratives on backwardness in Odisha due to lack of development, malnutrition, etc.
The Prime Minister started his speeches in local languages and invoked the names of freedom fighters from the two respective regions; which created an instant rapport with the audience.
The Prime Minister highlighted the central support for the much-hyped 1 rupee rice per kg scheme being implemented in the state.
The political attack by the Prime Minister Modi on the BJD has emerged as the most prominent shift of political strategy by the BJP vis-à-vis the ruling BJD. The BJD has been claiming of maintaining equi-distance with both congress and BJP.
However, the ‘equi-distance’ has been on a roller-coaster as evident in the election of the President of India, Vice-President of India , the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India and the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha over the last couple of months.
Subsequently, the visit of BJP President Amit Shah to Odisha within two days after the Prime Minister’s high profile visit speak volume about the changing political dynamics in Odisha. The BJP President equally used the weapon of sharp political attack against the BJD and it supremo.
The strategy of BJP in utilizing the ‘Purvodaya’ which focusses on the rapid development of Odisha will provide energy if the idea is made into a well crafted narrative.
The few other factors indicate towards the changing dynamics of Odisha politics. Have been the latest internal wrangling in the BJD and the change of guard in the state congress.
The two factors may contribute to the changing dynamics if the BJD-dissenters make inroads into the BJD vote bank. At the same time, Congress’s ability in winning back its traditional vote bank depends on it leaders’ ability to reinvent it in the hinterland of Odisha.
The changing dynamics of Odisha politics will also have a bearing on the national political arena in the days to come.
The author is a policy analyst and can be reached at email@example.com