After more than two decades, the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has started using the 'Naveen Odisha' slogan to reach out the hearts of the people of the state.

The Biju Janata Dal was founded on December 26, 1997, and was named after its legendary leader Biju Patnaik, the father of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Since then, the party has been Biju Patnaik's legacy as Biju was a very popular leader of Odisha.

After completing 25 years, the ruling BJD has started using the 'Naveen Odisha' slogan in political campaigns and at government-level also. 'Naveen Odisha' can be called New Odisha under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik or Naveen's Odisha.

The five-time Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself became a very popular leader in the state for his clean image, pro-poor policies, governance and developmental activities. Perhaps, to gain mileage from Naveen's brand image, the party has come with the slogan.

It seems that from the last foundation day celebration held on December 26, 2022, the regional party has taken this decision.

The 'Naveen Odisha' slogan was first used in the Men's FIH Hockey World Cup, 2023 held in Odisha from January 13 to 29 this year. The 'Naveen Odisha' words were very well placed in the Hockey World Cup 2023 official song titled 'Hockey Hai Dil Mera'. The song was not only played inside the host stadiums in Rourkela and Bhubaneswar, but also everywhere across the state during the trophy tour.

Most of the schemes and projects launched by the BJD government were named after Biju Patnaik. For example, Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana, Biju Setu Yojana, Biju Expressway, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana and many more.

During the presentation of the annual budget for 2023-24 last month, the Naveen Patnaik government has announced at least 20 new schemes and programmes. However, not a single was named after Biju Patnaik or any other legendary leader from Odisha.

Many of the new schemes have been named after the Chief Minister. Some of the newly announced schemes are-- Mukhyamantri Medhabi Chatra Protsahan, Mukhyamantri Disaster Resilient Saline Embankment, Mukhyamantri Janajati Jeebika Mission, Chief Minister's Power Development Programme, Mukhyamantri Maschya Jibi Kalyan Yojana, and Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana.

Further, on Biju Patnaik's birth anniversary (March 5) this year, the BJD workers across Odisha would take a pledge to work towards a prosperous and empowered 'Naveen Odisha'. This was done as per the direction of the party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

All these recent activities of the regional party indicate the end of Biju legacy within the party. From now onwards, the party will reach out to the people in the name and fame of Naveen Patnaik.

"Today Odisha has become one of rapidly progressing states in the entire country under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Babu. To take it to the next level, to see Odisha at the top position, 'Naveen Odisha' slogan is being adopted," said BJD senior vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra.

However, local political observers are seeing it in a different way. It is a well-though political move by the BJD to attract youth voters towards itself, they said.

"The young voters have grown seeing Naveen Patnaik as their Chief Minister. As they might not be attracted towards the party by listening to Biju Patnaik's works, the BJD has started campaigning with Naveen Patnaik government's achievements and welfare works," said political observer Sandeep Mishra.