BHUBANESWAR: As a triangular contest has become a certainty in Odisha in 2019 polls, political observers have started calculating the permutation and combination of power sharing if there is a hung Assembly.With a revitalised Congress under the changed leadership and BJP breathing down the neck of the ruling BJD and not ruling out the impact of anti-incumbency after 18 years in power, there is a possibility that the regional outfit will fall short of a majority even though it emerges as the single largest party.
Under such circumstances, will the Karnataka model work in Odisha to keep the BJP out of power? Congress insiders maintain that the party will win at least 40 seats in next Assembly elections. The BJP is also certain to improve its position going by the aggressive campaign of the party for the last two years. With the BJP targeting Odisha as its next State, the party’s campaign is going to be more aggressive in the coming days and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Odisha on May 26 is awaited in this regard.
While there is no possibility of Congress entering into a pre-poll alliance with BJD, it will certainly extend support to BJD to form government only to foil the chances of a post-poll alliance between the BJD and BJP who shared power for nine years before parting ways. Statements of two senior Congress leaders on such a line has made it clear that a discussion on this line is going on in the party. However, the BJD has dismissed such a possibility by asserting that the regional party will form Government on its own after winning a majority of seats in the next elections.
Senior Congress leader and chief of the party’s campaign committee Bhakta Charan Das said such a possibility cannot be ruled out as there is a chance of a hung Assembly in the State in next elections. “In that case, what will Congress do? It will certainly support a secular party too keep a check on BJP,” he said.
His party colleague Sarat Rout told this paper that Congress will join hands with all secular parties too keep the BJP at bay. “The Karnataka model will be used in all States,” he said. BJD spokesperson and government chief whip Amar Prasad Satpathy, however, dismissed such a possibility by asserting that BJD will win a massive mandate under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik. BJD follows the policy of equi-distance from BJP and Congress, he said.