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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: "Political life loves volatility" goes the saying. The power corridors in Odisha - from State Assembly to Naveen Niwas - witnessed the spectre of volatility on Thursday when the main opposition BJP launched a walkathon between the two edifices of Odisha politics.

In order to upstage the marathon run by the ruling BJD - from Governor House to the well of the House - to pin down the opposition BJP over the issue of alleged suicide bid by one of its legislator (Subhas Panigrahi), the Saffron party tried to walk today on the raw nerve of the BJD - CM Naveen Patnaik's absence in State Assembly.

"Sac loads of paddy are rotting at the Mandis for months in Odisha. The BJP has been demanding immediate intervention of CM Naveen Patnaik to address the burning problem. As the CM doesn't attend the Assembly session, we have come searching for our Chief Minister," said Leader of Opposition Pradipta Nayak.

However, a grand political theatre was on display on the State's power centres - from State Assembly to right upto Naveen Niwas, when the ruling BJD in order to pull the rug from under the saffron party's feet walked in tow with the BJP.

"Since our friends from the Opposition are going to meet our leader, we are voluntarily escorting them to our leader's house, so that they can have a hassle-free meeting," said Pranab Prakash Das, BJD's key strategy man.  

THE POLITICAL THEATRE SHOW

When the political show was on full public display, the talk of the show has been that BJP's walkathon has made the ruling BJD to spill on to the roads.

As the Saffron outfit took a direct aim at BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's absenteeism in the Odisha Assembly, the BJD strategists in order to blunt the political arrow had to shed their disdain and walked in tow with the BJP, feel political observers.

Though they feel, this is a BJD counter-strategy to showcase that the party is at ease with the BJP's walkathon, and they respect the opposition's legitimate right in a democracy to demand a meeting with the CM.

Since like theatre, politics is more of the show than talk, BJD used the ploy to grab in equal the light and camera (media coverage), feel political observers.

However, all ploys apart, a strategy is considered a sure-fire in politics if it leaves its rivals with no option to duck out or hook off. As per observers, BJP's walkathon politics has ultimately brought the ruling party on to the roads.

DID NAVEEN'S WALKOUT ROBS BJP's GAMEPLAN?

Though the dramatic emergence of CM Naveen Patnaik from his residence and his gesturing the opposition to walk-in for a talk has been tom-tommed by the ruling BJD as a big political coup by the CM, the real story tells a different tale.

Sample the BJD speak.

After the meeting, speaking to mediapersons, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Arukh said, "The opposition leaders had a very cordial meeting with the Chief Minister. He gave a patient hearing to BJP's complaint against the delay in paddy procurement at mandis. The CM assured them that he will look into the issue."

He further added that with regard to the stalemate in State Assembly, the CM told the opposition that Speaker will convene an all-party meeting to resolve the deadlock.

The real take away from the Minister's statement is the CM didn't junk the opposition's charge of mismanagement in paddy procurement. And the BJP has, exactly, held a walkathon to CM's house highlighting this issue alone.

In sum, though the BJD tried every trick in the book to outdo BJP by walking in tow and CM himself coming out to call the opposition for talks, the ruling party has, however, gave the BJP a walkover in highlighting in a big way the 'mismanagement in paddy procurement under BJD rule'.

BJP TURNING AGGRESSIVE?

As per observers, in the State executive meet held in the first week of March, Odisha BJP has chalked out an aggressive strategy to browbeat the Naveen Patnaik led BJD government. The suicide bid by BJP legislator over procurement fiasco and the walkathon have been part of the aggressive BJP strategy to keep the BJD on toes, feel observers and they added that by tasting a victory this time the saffron party will go for the jugular of Naveen Patnaik aggressively in the days to come.

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