With the general elections a year away, the change in guard in State BJP has come as a major relief for party activists in Sundargarh parliamentary constituency. But it would need extraordinary efforts on the part of new State chief of the party to regain lost glory, feel political observers.
After KV Singhdeo took over as Odisha president of BJP, the otherwise defunct BJP organisation in the constituency sees a ray of hope. But outgoing party chief Jual Oram is unlikely to forgo his grip over party cadres in Sundargarh district.
Party insiders said with Oram out of the president’s chair, a sizeable number of disgruntled leaders and workers would come back to strengthen the party. For some years now, Oram’s one-upmanship had left the party virtually in disarray which eventually saw his surprise defeat from Sundargarh MP seat in 2009.
In Assembly election, the BJP fielded candidates in seven seats in the district. But Bhimsen Choudhary’s win from Bonai was the only face-saver. In another blow, BJP failed to open account in the 35-member Sundargarh Zilla Parishad election last year.
A senior leader of Oram camp said it is natural to expect that the district would see two parallel organisations of Singhdeo and Oram. All three presidents of Panposh, Sundargarh and Bonai organisational districts of BJP are trusted men of Oram.
He said Oram would have a major say in selection of candidates for the Assembly seats. But, Oram’s opposition camp pointed out that the support base of BJP eroded during the 11-year dominance of Oram which included selection of weak candidates for the elections.
Senior BJP leader KP Sahu said in the volatile political scenario in the district, the BJP has a bright chance to bounce back. While the popularity of Congress MP Hemanand Biswal is on the wane, SP Nayak factor in the BJD will also help BJP get back confidence of the electorate.
A meeting chaired by BJP’s Panposh unit president Dhiren Senapati on Monday welcomed Singhdeo and exuded confidence that he would regain the lost glory of the party.
Another leader close to Oram claimed that the only difference between the two leaders is that Oram wants suspended Bonai MLA Bhimsen Choudhary out of the party. But both of them seem to be slowly burying the hatchet.