Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With several veteran political leaders including former Odisha Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang joining the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), the Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao-led party has found a foothold in the State to some extent.

However, in Odisha, political parties, commentators and analysts are divided about the impact of BRS on the State's political landscape in the run up to the 2024 general elections. While the BRS has seemingly adopted a well-reasoned strategy to attract and include veteran and dissatisfied leaders from different political parties in their fold, it remains to be seen if it will bear dividends amid the clout of main parties like the BJD, BJP and Congress.

Apart from Giridhar Gamang, his son Shishir Gamang and senior leader Jayaram Pangi recently quit Opposition BJP and joined hands with BRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao. Besides, former BJD MLA Nabin Nanda and MP Ramchandra Hansda have also joined the BRS. 

As per reports, many other high profile leaders from the State are also in touch with the BRS and they are going to join the party soon. BJD leader Debasis Nayak is also maintaining a distance from the BJD after getting deprived of a party ticket in 2019. Nayak is currently in Hyderabad and he is expected to join the BRS soon.

“Many leaders of the BJP, BJD and Congress are in touch with me. They are expected to join BRS soon,” said Jayaram Pangi.

“Several discontent leaders with high morale and potential from various parties will join BRS fold soon and strengthen the party,” said BRS leader, Akshay Kumar.

However, as per the key political parties in Odisha, entry of BRS will not affect the political equation in the State. Though many feel the exodus of discontent and rebel leaders has put them in a spot of bother. As per several political analysts, BJD is already grappling with infighting. At this juncture, the entry of BRS into State politics will be a worrying factor for the ruling party.

“The entry of BRS is not at all a worrying factor for BJP. We are a focused party and we believe in our hard work and potential. We take everyone in our stride,” said BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi.

“Those who will leave BJD will face a dark future. The party has a committed vote bank and entry of BRS will not affect us,” said senior BJD leader, Pinaki Mishra.

Congress is considered to have some vote bank in many parts of the State, including the southern part. However, the vote bank of Congress in these parts is likely to be affected as many tribal leaders are expected to join BRS soon.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders feel that BRS will have no impact in Odisha.

“BRS has done nothing in Odisha. So, it will not have any impact in the State,” said senior Congress leader Jayadev Jena.

But at the same time political analysts believe that the anti incumbency factor against the ruling party and the discontentment among some party leaders will help BRS gain momentum in the State. As Opposition parties Congress and BJP have failed to emerge as an alternative option, BRS has a good chance to grow in the State

“If BRS follows a proper strategy to take the discontent leaders under its fold, it will be able to emerge as a powerful force to be reckoned with in State politics,” said senior journalist Rabi Das.