Mrunal Manmay Dash

Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Odisha has been scheduled for March 26. BJP Chief JP Nadda just concluded his two-day visit to the State, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has plans to visit the State later.

While this does mean that the saffron party has Odisha on its focus for the 2024 General Elections, will it really make any major impact on BJP’s electoral prospects? The State unit of the BJP is certainly quite optimistic, but the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) seems unfazed by these visits.

The Union Home Minister is scheduled to visit Bhadrak and Jajpur districts as part of BJP’s ongoing Lok Sabha Pravas programme. The Home Minister is expected to address a meeting in the Bhadrak Lok Sabha constituency and hold discussions with state leaders and grassroots-level workers. He is also likely to review all the preparatory works and fine tune strategies for the elections ahead.

The reason behind his (Shah) choice of Bhadrak and Jajpur is said to be the neighbouring LS Constituencies of Balasore and Mayurbhanj, which is represented by the BJP. Analysts opined that the saffron party is trying to strengthen its presence in the neighbouring constituencies.

Sources said, the trio (PM Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda) will visit all the LS Constituencies where BJP lost in 2019 and try to strengthen its presence at the booth level.

Apart from that the BJP is also focussing on all the booths where it is growing and where it has secured more than 50 percent votes.

“The BJP will win the Assembly elections in 2024 for sure. To ensure that PM Modi will make frequent visits to Odisha in the next one year. The party has already made its roadmap,” said State BJP Vice President, Bhrugu Baxipatra.

However, the BJD claimed that visits of Amit Shah and PM Modi will not make any impact on the State politics.

“Their visits are nothing new for Odisha. Both Amit Shah and PM Modi had visited the State earlier too. They talked about bringing the ‘Double Engine Government’, some leaders even termed us as a burnt transformer. But the results of 2019 elections are before all of you to see. So they will pose some challenge for us but the BJD will win in the end, because the voters have already decided to put Naveen Patnaik on the Chief Minister’s chair for one more time,” said Odisha Science & Technology Minister, Ashok Panda.

The Congress on the other hand is optimistic of their win in Odisha next time. Speaking about the visits of BJP’s Central leadership, senior Congress leader, Jayadev Jena said, “Both the BJD and BJP are doing drama here in Odisha. They are actually united and we all know that. People in Odisha need an alternative government. And only Congress party can provide that.”

However, it remains to be seen if these claims of winning the election can actually turn into reality.

(Reported by Jagdis Das & Soumyaranjan Sahu, OTV)