Pradeep Pattanayak

After meeting Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw a few days ago and now holding a ‘Sankalp Samavesh’ at Bali Yatra ground in Cuttack, Ollywood actor and BJD’s state secretary Arindam Roy is keeping political pundits guessing about his next move. 

On the occasion of the National Youth Day, Arindam organised a ‘Sankalp Samavesh’ at Bali Yatra ground. Besides hundreds of youths, some of his party leaders and corporators also participated in the event. 

But this meeting was a sharp departure from the BJD's earlier meetings.  What instantly caught the attention of many was that there was no portrait of party supremo Naveen Patnaik anywhere on or off the dais. What left many confused is that the BJD symbol was also missing. 

Also Read: There's rift in BJD, several bigwigs in contact with Odisha Congress: Suresh Routray

At a time when BJD-sponsored several youth-oriented programmes are being organised across the state, Arindam’s programme for youths without any party symbols has set tongues wagging. 
“That was an apolitical programme. I also told all that there was no political intention behind this,” said Arindam. 

Regarding his meeting with Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Arindam said no one is barred from meeting anyone. On being asked what he will do in case he receives an offer from any other political party, Arindam said, "Only time will tell."

When contacted, BJP leader Dilip Mallick said, “The popularity of Modi Guarantee has reached such a height that leaders have started meeting our leaders either directly or indirectly or even stealthily. In the coming days, more such things will happen.”

Responding to the BJP leader’s statement, BJD leader Umakanta Samantaray said, “People of Odisha will vote for Naveen Patnaik because of the schemes and programmes meant for them.”

The actor-turned-politician organised the programme at a time when the BJP is mulling to form a Joining Committee in the state like the one already in the centre. The main objective of this committee is to bring the leaders of other parties, who have winnability to the party’s fold. 

According to political pundits, this strategy of the saffron party may cause trouble for the ruling BJD. 

“At many places, dissension in the party (BJD) is increasing. To cash in on the situation, if the BJP is forming a Joining Committee ahead of the general election, it is obvious that many will jump to the BJP,” said political analyst Rabi Das.

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