BHUBANESWAR: BJP’s good show in Assembly polls in north-eastern States has again brought the focus back on 2019 elections in Odisha with leaders of the saffron party exuding confidence of dislodging the Naveen Patnaik Government in the State.
Several BJP leaders were of the opinion that the Naveen Patnaik Government in Odisha will face the same fate as the Manik Sarkar Government in Tripura and there will be a direct contest between the BJP and BJD. The BJP leaders maintain that a direct fight between BJD and BJP will benefit the latter as has happened in Tripura where the Congress has failed to win even a single seat. Political observers are also of the opinion that a triangular fight among BJD, BJP and Congress always benefited the regional outfit. But that no longer is the case in Odisha as Congress may turn into a signboard party in the State soon going by its performance in the Bijepur by-poll.
However, BJD and Congress have dismissed the BJP’s hope of winning Odisha in 2019 polls as a dream. Reacting to the statement of Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram that Odisha will witness similar result as in Tripura, Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathi said BJP will never come to power in Odisha. On mission 120 plus of BJP’s national party president Amit Shah in Odisha, Maharathi said the BJP will be able to win 12 or 20 seats. Expect a Bijepur kind of result as Naveen Patnaik will again become the Chief Minister of Odisha after 2019 elections which will see a triangular fight, he said.
BJD vice-president and Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya questioned how the results of Tripura will have an impact on Odisha. Referring to the statement of Oram that Bijepur by-poll results will have no affect in Odisha in 2019 Assembly elections, Acharya said, “We think Tripura results will have no impact here.”
Leader of the Opposition and Congress veteran Narasingh Mishra said though the Congress lost in Bijepur by-poll, it has many supporters in Odisha who will vote for the party in 2019 election. “One should not be overjoyed or worried for a temporary win or defeat,” he said.