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Pradeep Pattanayak

The political atmosphere in the state is getting charged up ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah two-day Odisha visit, starting Sunday. While the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has left no stone unturned to welcome Shah, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is also well prepared to accord a grand welcome to Naveen Patnaik at the Baliyatra Ground helipad in Cuttack city. 

Meanwhile, a war of posters has already begun between the saffron and conch parties. There are posters of Shah dotting the entire route starting from the party office in Bhubaneswar to Cuttack. To counter it, the BJD has also put posters of Naveen Patnaik and the party on Shah’s routes of travel in Cuttack city. 

According to political analysts, Amit Shah’s non-political visit is going to be a pure political tussle in Cuttack city. 

At the same time, the BJP camp in the state has come alive. The party members are eagerly waiting to receive ‘sanjeevani’ for the 2024 battle. 

“The Bharatiya Janata Party is well prepared to give a warm welcome to a leader like Amit Shah who played a vital and significant role in restructuring the organisation in Odisha. We have nothing to say about the BJD’s preparation to welcome its leader,” said State BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan. 

Cuttack district BJD President Debashish Samantray said, “We are welcoming our leader and they are welcoming theirs. Tomorrow, we will welcome Naveen Patnaik as per tradition. We are also welcoming Shah to our city. There is no secret that the BJP will be benefitted from its leader’s visit and our party will have advantages from our leader’s visit.”

“As the 2024 election is getting closer, the central leaders are visiting the state. Their (BJD and BJP) show of strength will yield them nothing. They are responsible for the price of essential commodities skyrocketing. During these 22 years, things have transpired and there will definitely be a change in the coming days and the Congress will come to power in Odisha,” said PCC president Sarat Pattanayak. 

At a time when the progress of the BJP in the state has slowed down following the jolts it received in the last Panchayat and urban polls, it is believed that the visit of Shah will infuse life into the party.  

“What will be the strategies of the BJP, which is the main Opposition party in the state, for 2024 general election will clear tomorrow,” observed political analyst Rabi Das. 

Notably, during his two-day tour, Shah will pay obeisance at the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar, visit the birthplace of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and attend the 'Amruta Utsav of the Prajatantra' to mark the 75th anniversary of the Odia daily at the indoor stadium in Cuttack.

The Home Minister will also launch the Odisha chapter of 'Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery', a book on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's completion of 20 years as the head of a government- from becoming the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001 to being elected the Prime Minister of India in 2014 and again in 2019.

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