Mrunal Manmay Dash

As the countdown to the 2024 general elections nears with each passing day, political parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are buckling up for the big fight. And more than the Assembly seats, the saffron party has its eyes set on the 21 prized Lok Sabha seats in Odisha.

Following party’s national president, JP Nadda’s recent visit to Odisha, where he interacted with party members in Kandhamal and Puri, the SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis of the party in the State revealed some worrying figures.

As per the SWOT analysis, out of the eight Lok Sabha seats that the BJP has won in last 2019 elections, four seats; Kalahandi, Bolangir, Bargarh and Balasore remain vulnerable. So in order to compensate for that in the 2024 elections, the saffron party is reportedly aiming at 16 Lok Sabha seats, double the number that it won in the last elections.

However, the BJP is hopeful of retaining the other four seats - Mayurbhanj, Bhubaneswar, Sundargarh and Sambalpur - in which the party reportedly remains in good position.

On the other hand, Kandhamal, Puri, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal and Nabarangpur constituencies, where the party had conceded defeat by a marginal vote count, have given the party a ray of hope to improve their vote share in 2024 and tip the scales in its favour.

Commenting on the party’s strategy, Union Minister of State (MoS), Home, Ajay Mishra said, “Every political party has its own strategy and ideology and they work accordingly.”

Balasore MP, Pratap Sarangi said, “We have been working as per the direction of the High Command and will continue to strengthen the party from grassroots level. As far as 2024 is concerned, we will rectify our shortcomings and fight the election in full strength.”

Sources said the saffron party has plans afoot to strengthen its presence in rest of the Lok Sabha constituencies of the state other than the eight it won in 2019. National President, JP Nadda’s recent visit to Kandhamal and Puri was a part of that plan. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi will visit the State in future too.

State BJP General secretary, Prithviraj Harichandan said, “We will try and rectify our past errors that led to defeat in 13 seats and focus on retaining the eight seats that we have won.”

Now it remains to be seen if the BJP can actually succeed to dent the prospects of the BJD and make any further inroads.

(Reported By Harihar Chand & Biswambar Das, OTV)