Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had been a goalkeeper in his Doon school days. He is proving the talismanic goalie for the ruling BJD, notwithstanding the party's hanky panky deals on a host of issues that invite many penalty corners.
For the CM, the Opposition has failed to make a rich haul of the dozens of the penalty corners that come its way since the year 2014. The landslide BJD win is an outcome of 'Naveen talisman', the Kavach of pro-poor schemes and chess-board strategy.
However, as per the former German Chancellor Otto Van Bismarck, “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.”
The Opposition could make out an Arjuna by learning the Dronacharya tricks from CM Naveen Patnaik.
As per the American author Diana Gabaldon's fictional character 'Jamie Fraser' "What is Politics but Chess on a grand scale."
In the Odisha political chessboard, the key strategists led by the hockey enthusiast CM Naveen Patnaik have taken the words of chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer quite dear to the heart.
The great grandmaster had once said, "Chess is a war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent's mind." Playing the mind games, the BJD strategists undertake all such moves to send the Opposition into chaos.
However, it is also well known in chess circles that "The Chess is not always about winning. Sometimes it may be about learning."
So, in order to turn the heads to tail, the Opposition needs to take a leaf from Naveen Patnaik's electoral moves.
Fighting the elections like a war, the ruling BJD not only remain ever alert but also keeps making shrewd moves to dominate at the hustings. In order to win hands down, the party has linked the ticket for the next elections to the party's performance in the Panchayat and Urban elections.
And the big revelation here, as per top sources in the party, CM Patnaik has made the ticket-to-performance yardstick applicable to not only the MLAs but aspiring candidates also. A clear term has been set by the party. Post in the party has been linked to votes fetched for the party. In BJD, all boils down to numbers - votes.
Moreover, despite a party with plenty, the Party didn't hesitate to rope in horses from the Opposition stable. From Bargarh to Berhampur, Mayurbhanj and Nabarangpur, the BJD inducted top organisers from the Opposition stable to fortify its prospects.
BJD's Bargarh Coup
BJP won big in Bargarh in the 2017 Panchayat polls. Now, the saffron party is in disarray in the district. BJP's one wrong move of making Suresh Pujari the MP candidate from Bargarh, alienated late Subash Chouhan, a top-level organiser. After the exit of Chouhan, another grassroots leader from Barpalli, Narayan Sahu, quit the party.
With the son of the soils quitting the party, and an ever eager BJD quickly lapping them up, when the Party has the likes of Prasanna Acharya and Sushant Singh, the BJP organisation in the district has been reduced to a rut now.
The Result: After a whitewash in the rural polls, the BJP failed to win any NAC or Municipal chairman in the district. Moreover, out of 52 wards, the saffron party could win in only 8. In Barpalli, it drew a blank.
Not only Bargarh, but the BJD also played its move smartly in Balangir, Mayurbhanj, Berhampur and Nabarangpur.
BJD's Performance Stick
While BJD MLAs burn the midnight oil to secure their tickets, the Opposition MLAs, especially BJP, spend their days quite leisurely, though there were few exceptions. The Saffron party MLAs could deliver the Modi government's mega welfare schemes. They lived in the hope that PM Modi's name will prove abracadabra for them.
When Congress' Saluja and Tara Bahinipati holding their respective forts and a win in Speaker SN Patro's fiefdom write down the message clearly that it is possible to take the fight to BJD camp, the BJP winning Soro (Balasore), Dhenkanal, Udala, Sundargarh, Bhawanipatna harps on the same theme.
The sprouting of Lotus in Ganjam district - home district of BJD heavyweights and none other than CM Patnaik hold the lifeline message for the Opposition. The win in Kodala, Chhatrapur, Rambha scripts the storyline for BJP.
However, the success of MLAs in their own bastions have been only a flickering show in the Opposition camp, it has been a galaxy of success in the BJD camp. The aspiring candidates for party posts and tickets worked doubly harder than the sitting MLAs (in a few constituencies like Kabisurjyanagar et al).
For which the success rate of BJD has been very high in the constituencies won by the Opposition parties.
To step into BJD boots, the Opposition has to give recognition to front foot soldiers, not to backroom boys.
Because BJD's one-liner has been perform or perish. It has retired many senior leaders to give chances to new and inducted horses. It is the horse for courses for the Opposition if they wish to have any relevance in future Odisha politics.