Himansu Shekhar Rout

The general elections are a few months away, but challenges for major political parties like the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Congress are many. It would be a tough test for the parties to deal with the challenges in the shortest time.

The ruling BJD seems to have more challenges than the opposition this time while the opposition parties need to set right the organizational issues before going ahead with electioneering. 

The list of challenges for the ruling party ahead of the 2024 elections is long. The ruling party has to tackle multiple ticket aspirants, alleged anti-incumbency wave, infighting, tainted leaders, alleged sway of bureaucracy, a ‘dented image’ of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, and the ‘increasing popularity’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.          

BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra said, "Challenges are always there. We have dealt with the challenges and got the blessings of the people. We have been sincerely and dedicatedly serving the people of Odisha. Having more ticket aspirants is natural for a party having a huge following.”  

On the other hand, after the resounding electoral success of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, the morale of the central BJP leadership is high. They have focused on Odisha where its vote share is claimed to be on the rise. At the recent three-day brainstorming session of the central party leaders with the state units, the party has drawn up a roadmap with an emphasis on winning more seats in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

The party workers have been asked to target a 50 percent vote share in each ward. However, implementing the strategy may throw a challenge for the saffron camp at the grassroots level in the face of the alleged use of the government machinery, money, and muscle power of the ruling party. 

Leader of Opposition, Jayanarayan Mishra said, “The main challenges are the use of the government machinery, money and muscle power by the ruling party in the run-up and during the elections. We have been trying to overcome these challenges at the grassroots level by broadening our base. We are keeping in touch with every family.” 

The Congress is readying itself for its advertised Mission from 9 seats to 90 seats in the Assembly elections. However, challenges are many for the party. Factionalism is becoming acute in Congress while other challenges are strengthening the grassroots, maintaining proper coordination during elections, tackling the rebels, convincing the people of the failures of the state and Central governments, and finally the distribution of tickets. 

Also Read: Few ruling party leaders floating BJP-BJD ‘alliance rumours’ in Odisha: Vijaypal Singh Tomar 

Odisha Congress chief Sarat Pattanayak said, "About 90 percent of the booth-level committees in all panchayats have been formed. And we are trying to highlight the demerits of the BJP and BJD to the people during the door-to-door visits.”

Senior Journalist Prasanna Mohanty observed that the challenges that were in 2019 are becoming tougher for the ruling party in 2024 since the opposition parties have become more active. "Ticket distribution will create a messy situation when some aspirants will be denied tickets. Tackling the rebels will be a difficult task for the BJD,” he added.

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