Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 6:
Official business can wait. What is keeping Odisha Chief Minister Naveeen Patnaik, who returned after a 12-day long sojourn to the national capital on Sunday, busy at the moment, is poll arithmetic.
Among those who have met Naveen on Monday are senior leaders Surya Narayan Patro, Usha Devi, Bikramkeshari Arukh, Pratap Keshari Deb, Rabinarayan Nanda, Sanjay Dasburma, Anant Das and Ramchandra Hansda.
Besides, several district unit presidents of the BJD also met the chief minister at his residence.
According to sources in the party, Naveen is asking the leaders about their own assessment of the party’s poll prospects, especially the number of Assembly seats.
“The chief minister asked us about the poll prospects of the party. Since there is talk that BJD may not reach the magic number, he wanted to find out from us the ground realities,” said a Minister, who met Patnaik yesterday. He, however, hastened to add;
“We are quite confident that we will perform better than last time.”
The chief minister is said to be worried after intelligence reports scaled down its initial projection of over 100 Assembly seats to a more modest 80-85 seats. With some reports suggesting that the ruling party could even fall below the magic number of 74, the party president’s discomfiture is understandable.