Focussing in on the long regime of Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, the Bhartiya Janata Party is prepared to launch a two-fold mission in the state- strengthen its structure at the grassroots level, as well as cash in on the growing dissent aginst the state government. The BJD has been in power for 16 years in the state. Till 2009, the BJP also ruled as a part of the state government due an alliance with the BJD but the years have seen the national party become an insignificant force in the state. The party leaders have been gearing up for the 2019 Assembly elections, trying to emerge as a formidable force, by saying that the BJP has been giving ‘special attention’ to the state.
The BJP has expanded its 451 mandals to 997, in an attempt to increase its ground-level activities. These mandals are reported to have been instructed to organise monthly protests against the ‘misrule’ of the Naveen Patnaik government. District level protests are to be organised every three months. The party’s national leadership is to land in the state between September 15 and 20 to expose the “scam-hit, insensitive and corrupt” government of the state. One of the party leaders informed that the Prime Minister had already addressed three rallies in the state. He said that Odisha was one of the 3 states, Prime Minister Modi had chosen to address farmers. The Prime Minister is said to be addressing another rally in November.
Arun Singh, BJP General Secretary in the state said that the trend was changing fast in Odisha. Citing the example of Sundargarh, he said that the BJP had come 2nd in one seat and third in 20 seats in the constituency in 2009, but won 22.5% of votes including winning Sundargarh. He added that in Assam the BJP went from 5 Assembly seats in 2011 to 60 in the next election. He was confident that the party would go from 10 seats to 110 by 2019. The local body elections will be a litmus test for their efforts, a senior leader added. Singh said BJP’s focus would be on the state government’s misrule. Accusing the self-help groups of misusing funds; taking them at low interests and lending them at much higher rates, he said that the Party would end the use of funds. The centre-ruling BJP remains confident in exposing all the corruption in the state and win the people’s confidence and their votes, come 2019.