Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 15:
BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s second visit to Odisha in the last one month yesterday appears to have galvanised the party cadres in the state. An upbeat BJP, which was down in the dumps as recently as the corporation elections in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in January this year, is now boasting about winning 4-5 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha.
“The party had engaged a few independent agencies to carry out surveys. The findings of these surveys show that we can win in 4-5 Lok Sabha seats. Besides, the opinion polls carried out by different television news channels shows the tide turning in favour of BJP in the state,” said party spokesperson Suresh Pujari.
Pujari, the BJP candidate from the Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency, said the vote share of the party would be over 30 per cent in the constituency this time. He is pitted against sitting MP Amar Pradhan of the Congress and BJD candidate and former minister Nagendra Pradhan.
Apart from Sambalpur, the party is betting big on the Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat, now held by former chief minister and senior Congress leader Hemananda Biswal. Former Union Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram would lock horns with Biswal from Sundargarh this time. BJD has fielded hockey star Dillip Tirkey as its candidate in the constituency.
The party hopes to get maximum votes in western Odisha that is dominated by Congress and BJP so far in terms of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies.
Notwithstanding the lack of a base outside its traditional stronghold of western Odisha, however, the BJP is now hopeful of ride the Modi wave to win a good number of seats even in the Assembly election.
The highly successful Modi rally in Sambalpur yesterday appears to have given renewed vigour to the party workers.
But observers feel banking entirely on Modi’s charisma to win the electoral battle may not be the right strategy for the saffron party. With some of the leading lights of the Opposition like leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh and Brajarajnagar MLA Anup Sai of the Congress and senior BJP leader and former president of the party Bimbadhar Kuanr having joined the BJD recently, the ruling party is in a much better position in western Odisha than it was in 2009 while it appears to be in an unassailable position in the politically crucial coastal Odisha, they point out.