Mrunal Manmay Dash

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announcing to fight the general elections alone in Odisha ruling out the speculations about an alliance with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the members and ground-level workers of both the parties have heaved a sigh of relief. However, the ruling out of alliance is expected to trigger an exodus from the ruling party which is already struggling to deal with the problem of surplus.

The exodus situation wasn’t any good even before the announcement by Odisha BJP chief Manmohan Samal on Friday. Starting from Paradip to Bhubaneswar, the BJD is reportedly standing divided with new ticket aspirants becoming rebellious against the incumbent MLAs. 

For example, in the Bhubaneswar Central Assembly constituency, the political climate is reportedly heating up due to a growing rift between BJD MLA Ananta Narayan Jena and party corporator Amaresh Jena over party ticket.

Similarly, in Paradip, BJD leaders and workers have reportedly ganged up against MLA Sambit Routray. Hundreds of party workers led by former Kujang block chairman Smruti Ranjan Behera held a close-door meeting and warned of intensifying their revolt if Routray is given the BJD ticket this time.

On the other hand, disgruntled BJD leaders have been making a beeline for the BJP. 

Recently former Minister Debasis Nayak, Bhubaneswar Jayadev MLA Arabinda Dhali and former MLA Mukunda Sodhi joined the BJP while Chilika MLA Prashant Jagdev and Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi joined the party earlier.

To add to the woes of the BJD, Telkoi MLA Pramananda Nayak and former MLA Raju Das have also joined the BJP.

However, with the speculations of an alliance between the BJD and BJP buzzing around the political corridors, the ground-level cadres and disgruntled leaders of BJD had found themselves in a fix. They did not know where to go if BJD shook hands with the BJP.

The workers of both parties sweated it out and fought each other on the ground for years. They could hardly be expected to make up and accept each other’s company in the government for the next five years, say experts.

But the Friday announcement by the BJP to go solo in the elections is expected to open the floodgates yet again. And many other BJD leaders, mostly disgruntled leaders are likely to leave BJD for BJP, believe political pundits.

Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi had earlier said, “Every day, hundreds of people are joining the BJP. I feel the BJD will be empty of leaders in a few days..."

It is pertinent to mention here that the BJD has too many ticket aspirants for the Assembly seats. If reports are to be believed, an average of five BJD aspirants are there for 147 Assembly seats making it nearly 750 aspirants vying for BJD tickets. 

Similarly, the BJD does not have any fewer aspirants for Parliamentary seats as well, making the statement by Prashant Jagdev almost valid when he said that the BJD is sitting on 1000 bombs.