Pradeep Pattanayak

Even as the principal Opposition party BJP admitted to the fact of not making a fool-proof electoral strategy to corner the BJD in the recently concluded Panchayat polls, senior party leader Pratap Sarangi on Friday attributed the landslide victory of the ruling party to misuse of official machinery and money power.  

Speaking at discussion on ‘Panchayat Verdict: What led to Opposition debacle’ at the 12th edition of Odisha Television Limited’s annual convention ‘Foresight 2022’, the BJP veteran who shared dais with Congress leader Ganeshwar Behera, CPI leader Narayan Reddy and senior journalist Sandeep Mishra, said if his party had bitten the dust in the poll, it is because of the faults in the preparation for the battle. 

The Balasore MP however, claimed that the party will bounce back in the near future.

“Failure is just like a tide in the ocean. Several tides will follow a single tide. Soon, a bigger tide will sweep the coast,” Sarangi said. 

Launching a scathing attack on the Biju Janata Dal, he said the party had managed to woo voters by splurging money in the election and engaging government officers and employees to its benefit. 

The Parliamentarian however, observed the one-sided victory in the polls as not a good sign for democracy. 

Sharing his views on the Congress’s dismal performance, senior party leader Ganeshwar Behera puts the blame on categorically on the State organization as a whole.

“We are a disorganized lot. Like no one visits a disorderly house, people of Odisha have rejected us. Another reason for our poor performance is the paucity of funds. We couldn’t spend as lavishly as the BJD did. Money power is indeed necessary for a party to win elections,” said Behera. 

“In the run up to the election, the ruling party was on the back foot for it’s flip flops on several issues.  We believed people would ponder over those while exercising their franchise. But it didn’t happen,” Behera said. 

Senior CPI leader Narayan Reddy termed the Panchayat poll verdict ‘unprecedented’. “It seems the Opposition parties are missing what Naveen Patnaik has, the gimmicks before election. Just one month prior to the elections, he (Naveen Patnaik) rolled out several schemes, extended financial benefits to the voters.”

He went further, “Another factor which helped the ruling party was splurging government money and rampant misuse of government machinery,” Reddy claimed. 

Making his observations on the Panchayat poll outcome, senior journalist Sandeep Mishra said the BJP’s debacle was on account of the party in confusion over its relations with BJD, after all they were allies for two terms in the State. “The BJP is yet to decide whether it will fight with the BJD or sail with it. And, the party is still struggling to project a Chief Ministerial candidate,” Mishra opined. 

Mishra, however, didn’t agree to the Opposition parties’ charge that BJD has won the election purely by the might of money power. “BJD has been winning elections because of its poll management and shrewd strategy which the Opposition is failing to match.”