BJP hopes to defeat BJD over 'Odia Asmita' & 'outsider' issues

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 10, 2024 IST

BJP hopes to defeat BJD over 'Odia Asmita' & 'outsider' issues

Bhubaneswar, May 10: The political battleground has heated up in Odisha, with candidates of the three major parties -- Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress -- making an all-out effort to sway the voters in their favour.

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The ruling BJD is confident of continuing the winning streak with the help of its strong support base among the women voters and the popularity of its flagship welfare schemes.

The Opposition too plunged into the battleground with issues like alleged corruption, double engine government in the state.

Among the major poll planks, Odia Asmita (Odia self-identity) has taken the centre stage opposition parties sharpening their attacks against bureaucrat-turned politician V.K. Pandian, a close confidant of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and one of the star campaigners for BJD.

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The principal opposition, BJP, has made Odia Asmita its main poll plank to wrest power from BJD, ending nearly 25-year-old rule of Patnaik.

The BJP top brass has sharpened their attack against the ruling dispensation (BJD) and are now constantly raking up the issue of threats to Odia culture, language and literature with, what they call an 'outsider', Tamil Nadu-born Pandian, taking over the reins of government post 2024 general elections.

Prime Narendra Modi said during an interview that the Odisha Asmita (Odisha's self-identity) and Odia language are at stake.

PM Modi again raked up the issue during his recent address at Nabarangpur on May 6 saying that if the BJP comes to power, it will ensure a son of this soil with respect for the culture of Odisha take oath as the state's Chief Minister, not an outsider.

Similarly, BJP's national president JP Nadda advised Odisha voters to remain vigilant regarding efforts to force upon an 'outsider' as their leader.

On being branded an 'outsider', Pandian said that he is an Odia by breath and only the people of Odisha would decide whether he is an outsider.

"My God is Lord Jagannath. My guru is Naveen Patnaik. My 'karmabhoomi' is Odisha. Both of my children have Odia as their mother-tongue and Odisha is their motherland. Finally, people of Odisha would decide whether I am an outsider or one among them," Pandian said recently.

Some political analysts claimed that the issue of an outsider at the helm of Odisha government was first raised during discussions among the public across the state.

The Opposition later picked up the issue to corner the ruling party.

"The Opposition parties and some activists have continuously been raising issues regarding non-Odia bureaucrats holding plum portfolios in Odisha administration and non-Odia contractors being awarded huge contracts in the state for the last couple of years. However, this is the first time the issue has become the biggest poll plank in the election campaign," said journalist Saswat Panigrahi.

Panigrahi said the issues of Odia Asmita and 'outsider' are surely going to stir the masses and benefit the BJD's political rivals in the elections in Odisha beginning from May 13.

It is pertinent here to mention that the ruling BJD had secured 112 seats with 44.71 per cent vote share while BJP got only 23 seats despite acquiring 32.49 per cent vote share in 2019 elections to Odisha Assembly.

A buoyant BJP this time hopes to improve its seats tally and the vote share by striking an emotional chord with the voters exploiting the 'Odia Asmita' and 'Outsider' issues.

Meanwhile, some political analysts submitted that the Opposition parties are not themselves clear about the issues, and it will have negligent or no impact at all on the election prospect of the ruling party.

"The issue of Odia Asmita and Odia language is making some buzz in the electoral politics in Odisha. But since there is no clarity in the issue, it is not taking the centrestage in the poll battle," said senior journalist Dilip Kumar Bisoi.

Bisoi added that leaders of Congress and BJP are expressing concern that the Odisha Asmita and Odia language are in danger.

"But they are not clarifying what the dangers are. Perhaps they themselves are not clear about it. How come they would convince the voters?" questioned Bisoi.

Assembly and Lok Sabha elections will be held simultaneously in Odisha in four phases from May 13 to June 1.

The results of the polling for both Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha will be out on June 4.

    Tags
  • Election 2024
  • Odisha Election 2024
  • General Elections 2024

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