Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Ruling BJD’s recent ‘Sankha Mo Garba’ (Conch my pride) campaign has triggered a political slugfest in Odisha.

While BJD has intensified the campaign across various social media platforms with several party leaders and workers sharing videos with slogans ‘Sankha Mo Garba’, Opposition parties have termed it as the ruling party’s imminent fear.

Before 2019 general elections, BJD’s slogan was ‘Ghare Ghare Sankha’ (conch in every house). However, the party decided to change the trend before 2024 general election with the new slogan of ‘Sankha Mo Garba’.  Earlier on the birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik, the leaders and workers of the party had taken a pledge to form 'Nabeena Odisha' (New Odisha). However, it triggered 'Biju Odisha vs Naveen Odisha' controversy. Then the party changed its campaign to ‘Sankha Mo Garba’.

As BJD has intensified the ‘Sankha Mo Garba’ campaign over several social media platforms, questions have been raised over its objective. Conch (Sankha) has been the symbol of the BJD for the last 26 years and the party has been in power for the last 24 years. Then why this kind of campaign now?

As per some political experts, BJD is resorting to this kind of campaign to attract young and new voters. Some of them are also of the opinion that the way the party is running is not helping the workers to remain active and hence the campaign is being carried out to motivate and prepare them as election warriors.

Others are of the opinion that the party leadership will change in near future. However, the party symbol will remain intact. So, keeping the future strategy of the party in mind, the campaign is being carried out.

“Conch symbol is the pride of all the workers and leaders of BJD. We all are trying to make the ‘Sankha Mo Garba’ as the number one trend on Twitter across India,” said BJD MLA, Devi Ranjan Tripathy.

However, as per the Opposition, BJD's campaign is a sign of fear and frustration.

“BJD is scared about its future. People of Odisha are not supporting the party anymore. Hence to attract the voters for the upcoming election, BJD has started the campaign,” said Congress MLA, Santosh Sigh Saluja.

“BJD leaders and workers are indulged in corruption. They are being protected and united through this new campaign,” said Opposition Chief Whip, Mohan Majhi.

Meanwhile, responding to the campaign, Congress leader Bijay Patnaik said, “My identification is Lord Jagannath and my pride is my State Odisha.”

As per some political experts, BJD is trying to prove that the party also exists beyond the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“What kind of message BJD wants to give with ‘Sankha Mo Garba’ campaign? BJD has now realized that the party should exist beyond the leadership of Naveen. With this aim the campaign has been started,” said senior journalist, Rabi Das.