Who Will Be Trump Card In Odisha Panchayat Polls: Modi, Naveen Or 'Others'?

Between 2017 - 2022, the two political constants in Odisha - CM Naveen Patnaik and PM Narendra Modi - remain. Controversies hit Naveen more than PM Modi. Beneficiaries hold the key

Who will be Trump card In Odisha Panchayat polls?

News Summary

The electoral contest in Odisha had always been bi-polar - Janata Party/Dal versus Indian National Congress.

Odisha saw a triangular contest for the first time in State's electoral history in the 2009 Assembly polls and the 2012 Panchayat polls.

In order to beat the Congress, the poll theme in 2012 by the BJD was CM Naveen Patnaik's clean image and 'Central negligence to Odisha' versus scams in Congress-led UPA.

The fortunes of the Saffron party soared with the Modi-isation of the Indian polity. The party in Odisha witnessed a rise in its political capital in the 2014 Assembly elections.

In the 2017 Panchayat polls, the clock turned full circle in the State. The cupboard of CM Naveen Patnaik had dozens of skeletons - from Chit fund to NFSA scam, the Commission raj et al

In contrast, Modi-fied BJP went to the town with PM Narendra Modi's slogan - Na Khaoonga, Na Khane Doonga (which means zero tolerance to corruption).

The ball for the three-tier Panchayat polls in Odisha will be on a roll from Monday with the kick-starting of the nomination process across the State. The stakes are high for the parties across the spectrum - from ruling BJD to opposition BJP and Congress. This is so because the outcome will lay the pitch for the 2024 polls.

While for the Congress there is nothing apparent to lose as the party had already hit the rock bottom in the 2019 Assembly elections, the political stakes are high for the BJD and BJP.