Vikash Sharma

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha which recently launched a social media campaign, ‘Mo Sankha, Mo Garba’ (my conch, my pride) is again in news for launching another campaign. This time, the party has launched the ‘Jai Jagannath’ campaign.

From Ministers to MLAs, every BJD leader is posting a video on their respective social media accounts with slogan, ‘Jai Jagannath’. But questions remain as to why the ruling party had to change its social media campaign in such a short time period? Why the BJD picked ‘Jai Jagannath’ slogan after launching the 'Mo Sankha, Mo Garba' campaign?

Whether it is a pre-planned strategy or did the 'Mo Sankha, Mo Garba' campaign fail to generate the expected results? It may be mentioned that the BJD had to face some heat over the ‘Mo Sankha, Mo Garba’ campaign on social media with trolls.

The trolls targeted the leaders, who were previously caught in controversial matters, by mocking them. While the Congress claimed that the BJD has been forced to change its campaign as the tagline ‘Mo Sankha, Mo Garba’ was not accepted by the people, it is being speculated that the change is a strategy to counter the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan of the BJP ahead or Ram Navami.

“BJD has now changed its voice after people did not accept the 'Mo Sankha, Mo Garba' campaign and now they have switched to Jai Jagannath,” said Congress MLA, Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

Meanwhile, politics has intensified in Odisha over the change of slogan by the ruling party, days ahead of the Ram Navami as BJP will certainly up the ante with the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan.

BJP MLA, Subhash Panigrahi said, “For BJD, Sankha is their pride. But for the BJP, Odisha, Lord Jagannath and Shri Ram are our pride. On Ram Navami, there will be a massive social media campaign.”

Intellectuals believe that it could be the strategy of the BJD to play the ‘soft Hindutva card’ to checkmate the BJP. The reason is that the ruling party is now focusing on the development of religious shrines like the Srimandir, Lingaraj temple, Samaleswari temple among others. It may be recalled that the BJD supremo and CM Naveen Patnaik had recently visited a ‘Goshala’ and fed cows.

Speculations are rife over BJD’s move as the party which has been claiming itself to be ‘secular’ is now playing the soft Hindutva card to checkmate the BJP in the state. Planning and Convergence Minister, Rajendra Dholakia said, “Conch is a religious symbol and Lord Jagannath is popular across the world. It is due to Lord’s blessing that Naveen Patnaik has been Chief Minister for five terms in the state.”

Senior journalist, Rabi Das said, “There is no instance where the election has been influenced on the basis of religion in Odisha. Who will oppose 'Jagannath is my pride' and why. But it seems that they are trying to use it for political milege.”

Congress MLA, R. Ekka said, “I am a Christian but I don’t know any discrimination. We have been telling Jai Sri Ram and Jai Jagannath. I was also in Army and we were doing 'aarati' and using slogans like Jai Maa Durga, and Jai Maa Kali as per the unit. But it seems that they (BJD) are in a state of fear. They should seek blessings of God but should not divide God.”

(Reported by Jagdish Das and Harihar Chand)