Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Electioneering has hit a fever pitch in Odisha ahead of the third phase of polling. Many BJP leaders from across the country have been visiting the State as star campaigners to canvass for the saffron party candidates. During his visit to Odisha, senior BJP leader and former Tripura CM Biplab Deb revealed the mood of the people in the State in an exclusive interview with OTV. Here is an excerpt...

Q) You have been travelling to various parts of Odisha over the last month. Do you feel the BJP will be able to form government in the State this time?

A) I feel the people of Odisha will form the government this time as people are above all. All the workers of the BJP believe in the people and we don't believe in money and muscle power. While travelling in Odisha, I have felt that the aspirations of the people have not been fulfilled though a stable government has been here for 25 years. People are aware of it and they are very angry.

Q) People may be angry, but will that get converted to votes?

A) As per my experience, it gets converted to votes. Guardianship is required for it. BJP has it under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. People of Odisha are aware of the PM's working style and his feelings towards the public. A guardian was needed for the people of Odisha. Once the people of Odisha were obeying and paying respect to the late Biju Patnaik. This is how Naveen Patnaik came and formed the government. People have seen this government and now they are aware of who is running this government. Now, they are concerned about the kind of governance.

Q) You are travelling to various parts of Odisha. Do you think that people have understood who is running the government?

A) People are aware of who is running the government. Naveen Babu himself also knows who is running the government.  People are not bothered about who is running the government and why he is doing it. People are only concerned when the government doesn't run well. When the government doesn't run properly, then people ask questions about governance. Nobody asked the question when Naveen Babu became the Chief Minister anew. Why are they asking the question now? It's because the government is not functioning properly though Odisha is so rich in mines and minerals and there has been a stable government for 25 years. Odisha has blessings of Lord Jagannath and it is the land of Kalinga. This land transformed 'Chand Ashoka' into 'Dharm Ashoka'...

Q) BJD is claiming that lots of developmental activities have taken place in Odisha and many people have got employment opportunities. However, the Opposition is not able to see anything...

A) We have two eyes like the BJD. However, the BJD is looking through the eyes of Pandian (VK Pandian). What could they see? Let them look through the eyes of Odisha people and through their own eyes once. The man runs the government through a backdoor and he has not even contested as an MLA candidate. He is even conducting roadshows for the party. Are there no other leaders in BJD to conduct roadshows? If he (Pandian) is conducting roadshows why is he not contesting elections? People are angry over the work of this government. They are angry to find out that their areas have not been provided with road connectivity, they are grappling with drinking water crisis and irrigation facilities. They find that these issues have not been solved due to Pandian.

Q) BJP is mainly targeting Pandian rather than Naveen Patnaik. What could be the reason behind it? Is there any planning to have a coalition with Naveen later?

A) People have a feeling that not many developmental activities have been undertaken in the State despite 25 years of BJD rule. Odisha doesn't have the best medical and engineering colleges in the country.

Q) Naveen Babu is advising the BJP leaders to take care of their own States...

A) I don't know whether Naveen Babu has said it or the script was prepared by somebody else. Even when Naveen Babu speaks, somebody else prompts him by holding a microphone in front of him. This is the problem for Odia people. Pandian has created propaganda and an image of the government in the State.

Q) BJP has raised the 'Odia Asmita issue'. Do you feel that Odia people are not ruling the State?

A) You should rather ask this question to the people of Odisha. Why the question is being raised now. The people of Odisha have now made up their minds to make an Odia their CM.

Q) Once Pandian said that if BJP manages to win 50 to 60 seats in Odisha,  they may break the BJD as it happened in Maharashtra and Karnataka...

A) When one becomes weak and fears defeat, he only thinks along these lines. Forget about rice, you have not even provided drinking water facilities to the people amid the scorching summer. The people of Odisha gave you 25 years and in return, you want to impose Pandian on them. Had Biju Patnaik been alive, he would have apologised before Lord Jagannath for the injustice meted out to the people of Odisha.  Narendra Modi is the only person to save Odisha from the injustice. Whatever he speaks, he does.

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