Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 27:
The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has prepared an elaborate strategy to checkmate every single leader from the opposition ranks who can be a potential source of trouble during what it believes is going to be its fourth successive term in the government in Odisha.
Towards this end, the party has drawn up a list of opposition leaders and has put in place a well thought out strategy, which would obviously include generous contributions from the dirty tricks department of the party, to block their entry into the Assembly or the Parliament as the case may be.
According to reliable sources in the party, the list includes Bijay Mohapatra, Srikant Jena, KV Singhdeo, Narasingh Mishra, Chandra Sekhar Sahu, Prasad Harichandan, Dillip Ray and Jaydev Jena.
“Since we know that these leaders, if elected, can put the government on the mat with their political acumen and long experience, the party has decided to put to use its best arsenal during the elections,” said a senior BJD leader requesting anonymity.
Of top of the list is Bijya Mohapatra, the man who has been checkmated successfully in Patkura by the dirty tricks department of the BJD in three successive elections. Maybe that is the reason Mohapatra has decided to shift his battleground to Mahakalpada.
The change in the battleground, however, hasn’t meant a change in his battle partner. He would take on Atanu Sabyasachi, his old bete noire, in Mahakalpada. BJP sources said the old warhorse chose Makahakalpada since he felt that Atanu, though renominated by BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik despite his alleged suspect loyalty, is on much weaker ground this time. He is also banking on Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda who has no love lost for Atanu. On his part, Atanu can bank on the unstinted support of the party supremo and his dirty tricks department if only to prevent Mohapatra from winning the elections since he knows he is one man who can make life really difficult for him once he re-enters the hallowed precincts of the state Assembly.
Another old party faithful locking horns with a present partyman of suspect loyalty is Dilip Ray in Rourkela. The former Union minister and Biju loyalist, who was one of the leaders who were instrumental in enthroning Naveen in place of his father, is pitted against Sarada Nayak, the former minister who was dropped from the council of ministers by the Chef Minister after his alleged role in the ‘coup that never was’ on May 29, 2012 but still managed to avoid the axe this time.
Prasad Harichandan has been a virtual one man army putting the government repeatedly on the mat in the outgoing Assembly with his erudition, meticulous homework and eloquence. That is why the BJD is going all out to put as many hurdles as it can in the Satyabadi MLA’s return path to the Assembly.
For much the same reason, the ruling party is hell bent on preventing the re-entry of Narasingh Mishra, the chairperson of the Congress’ media cell. Mishra’s candidature in the Bolangir Assembly constituency had a lot to do with the BJD decision to revoke the party ticket given to Harekrushna Sarangi, an AU Singhdeo acolyte, and pull out Singhdeo himself from the Rajya Sabha to take on the wily Brahmin.
In neighbouring Patnagarh, the ruling party has focused all its efforts at ensuring the defeat of KV Singhdeo, the BJP state unit president who in the past has needled the BJD boss repeatedly, even going to the extent of reserving a ‘cell next to Madhu Koda’s’ in Tihar jail for him.
Srikant Jena and Chandra Sekhar Sahu of the Congress are the two candidates that the BJD is determined to ensure are not there in the next Lok Sabha. With his incessant attack on Naveen Patnaik, the Union Fertiliser and Chemicals minister has been constant a pain in the neck for the BJD supremo.
Sahu, who has been a Union minister in the past, can also cause embarrassment to the BJD supremo with his sharp debating skills and pro-people image. Besides, a Congress candidate winning in his home turf, Ganjam, would be a personal embarrassment for him.
The BJD think tank, however, knows only too well that no strategy, no matter how creatively conceived and brilliantly executed, is foolproof. That is why it is busy giving finishing touches to plug any possible loopholes that may still have been left in the strategy.