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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Soon after taking command of the State unit of BJP, senior leader of the party Samir Mohanty said his focus is to pave the way for the saffron party to serve 4.5 crore people of Odisha and make the party’s image clean by freeing it from the BJD-BJP 'Foes Outside Friends Inside' rhetoric.

Mohanty was apparently talking about the saffron party’s alleged proximity with ruling BJD after the regional party handed over one Rajya Sabha seat to it. With Congress leader Digvijay Singh terming it as a deep-rooted understanding between BJP and BJD it seems to be a big challenge for the new State party chief to remove the perception of that narrative from the minds of its workers.

During the felicitation ceremony of Mohanty, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also hinted towards a fight against BJD after raising the issues pertaining to alleged irregularities in the housing scheme in Odisha.

“If anyone is thinking of hijacking the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) by simply removing the 'Prime Minister' phrase from the name, the BJP under the leadership of Samir Mohanty will not let them to fulfil their daydream,” Pradhan had said.

Apart from ending speculations of alleged proximity with BJD, maintaining coordination with all party workers and strengthening its base in 37,000 booths across the State will be a challenge for the new chief.

“There are some outstanding schemes which should reach the people. Unfortunately, those schemes become vote based. The party will chalk out strategies to ensure that such schemes reach the people in the grassroots level,” Mohanty had said.

On the other hand, on nationwide front, with JP Nadda all set to take over as the national president of BJP tomorrow, speculations are high whether Nadda will give a new mantra to the ‘Look East’ call given by Amit Shah ahead of the last general elections. While BJP succeeded to bloom lotus in eight north east states like Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and also performed exceedingly well in Odisha, the party is now focussed on making inroads into West Bengal.

In the last general election, BJP jumped from third position to secure the prime Opposition party status in Odisha, so it remains a challenge for the party both at the nation and State front to the number 1 spot in Odisha.

“In current scenario, to maintain its fighting spirit, close coordination with party workers and discharging its function as the main Opposition in the Assembly will be big challenge for the new chief,” said political analyst Prasanna Mohanty.

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