Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 4:
Naveen Patnaik, it seems, is not the only claimant to the Biju legacy. Rebel BJD candidates, contesting the BMC polls as independents, are now using the Biju brand to woo voters in the run up to the January 8 elections.
The rebel leaders have printed the image of the legendary leader Biju Patnaik along with their photos in the banners and posters to prove to the voters that they are the true legatees of the late leader and not BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik, who founded the party in his name. Songs extolling the virtues of Biju Patnaik blare from loudspeakers on their campaign vehicles.
“The party leaders have betrayed us by not giving us tickets in the BMC elections. But, we are with the party and Biju Patnaik. We will support the party even after winning the elections,” said a rebel candidate.
While Biju Patnaik’s charisma is reaped by his biological son Naveen Patnaik, many political sons of Biju including Pyarimohan Mohapatra, the bête-noire of Naveen Patnaik, and Union Minister Srikant Jena are also laying claim to the Biju legacy. It is not only Patnaik who is claiming to fulfil his father’s dream; Mohapatra has also done the same.
Apart from Naveen Patnaik, former prime ministers Atal Behari Vajpayee, H D Deve Gowda and JD (U) president Sharad Yadav have all praised Biju Patnaik for making Odisha strong and have vowed to continue his work.
Though the BJP is trying to use Narendra Modi as its poster boy to win polls, be it municipal elections or the forthcoming 2014 elections, the Biju brand still remains the biggest draw in Odisha with many those opposing Naveen using it to garner votes.