With the 2014 elections closing in, realignment of political forces seems to be gaining momentum and it is time for strange bedfellows with parties intensifying efforts to reach out to the people and trying to forge partnerships.
The BJD has started hectic preparations with party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik criss-crossing the State. Naveen has been making fresh announcements, attending inaugural functions and laying foundation stones.
The Congress is also not far behind. The two-day visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to the State on February 18 and 19 with emphasis on empowerment of grassroots workers and unity in the ranks has galvanised the partymen.
Besides, visits of senior Union ministers Jairam Ramesh and V Kishore Chandra Deo to Western Odisha districts have also enthused the party workers of the region.
But speculations over a possible tie-up between the Odisha Jana Morcha (OJM) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2014 polls have generated much political heat. OJM chairman Pyarimohan Mohapatra threw broad hints while addressing mediapersons here on Sunday that he is not averse to an alignment with the BJP. ‘’Our doors are open for everybody other than BJD and Congress,’’ he said.
Sources in the Left parties maintained that they are not yet ready to abandon the BJD and throw their lot behind the OJM, which is yet to be converted into a political party. The CPI, which had seat arrangements with the BJD in 2009 polls, had won from Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha and Chhatrapur Assembly constituencies.
While the NCP has lost whatever base it had in the State after four party MLAs joined the BJD, other parties do not matter electorally.
Another development which has surprised political observers is how the visit of the Chief Minister to Sambalpur and Jharsuguda districts passed off without any event. Naveen was greeted with black flags by Congress activists at many places during his district visits. But Naveen’s visit to Jharsuguda and Sambalpur districts, where the Congress has a strong base, was without any event.