With the elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assembly due in 2014, the ongoing organisational election of the faction-ridden State BJP assumes significance.
The party, in existential dilemma after the ruling BJD snapped ties with it on the eve of the 2009 election, is now going to elect a new leader who will steer the party to next poll. There is growing realisation within the BJP that the RSS is the major stumbling block to the organisational growth of the party and the leadership as well. Though a majority in the party is opposed to the increasing interference of the Sangh in all affairs of the BJP and many prefer to talk in private, there is no solution to the problem in sight because no one is daring to raise the issue in public.
Protesting the overwhelming presence of the Sangh in the routine affairs of the State BJP, former Lok Sabha MP Kharbela Swain left the BJP and floated a regional party.
Groupism and factional fights have started taking their toll on the BJP, which had a vote share of 19 per cent before 2000. The share came down to 9 pc in the last panchayat poll. There is rapid erosion in the organisational base of the party as the disillusioned cadres have started searching for better alternatives.
“If the present state of affairs continues, many BJP leaders will prefer to switch over to other parties for their political existence before the next general election,” sources in the party said.
As the election of party president is drawing close with the talk of who will be the next president hotting up, the Sangh managers of the State are reportedly planning to install their man. Names of four Sangh favourites __ Biswabhusan Harichandan, Suresh Pujari, Nayan Prasad Mohanty and Murali Sharma __ are doing the rounds for the BJP State chief post.
A senior leader of the party, Harichandan was president of the party’s State unit twice while Pujari was the party chief once. The incumbent Jual Oram is the only leader of the party to hold the post thrice. Nayan and Murali are now general secretaries.
Ironically, most of the State office-bearers opposed Oram in the 1997 election against Harichandan who lost to former in a direct contest.
The BJP now needs a leader who will motivate the cadres to give a tough fight to the BJD, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in the next election, said a senior party leader. The Sangh parivar should give a free hand to the State BJP to elects its president, he added.