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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the big battle in Odisha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday made a significant political prognosis on the 2019 elections in the State. A confident looking PM said, "Odisha poll results will surprise the country. A second Tripura is in making in Odisha," he claimed.

The politically relevant assertion by PM Modi has come in response to query from one Pabitra Parida, a fish farmer from Kendrapara, in the PM's flagship interactive campaign programme 'Main bhi Chowkidaar'.

Responding to a query on polls 2019, Modi recalled his recent Jeypore visit. He said, " I have been to Odisha recently. I am overwhelmed at the enthusiasm among people there. A big surprise is definitely in store in the upcoming elections in Odisha".

What has queered the election pitch in Odisha is BJP's poll strategist and Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had earlier today said Tripura is going to happen in Odisha, West Bengal and Kerala. "With new chemistry BJP's vote share and seats to see an exponential jump," he claimed.

PM Modi's statement assumes quite significant when ruling BJD is witnessing large scale desertions here. In the last few weeks, many BJD veterans like Damodar Rout, Arjun Sethi and Mohan Jena et al have joined BJP. A trend of a sort has been developed in the State politics in 2019, when the moment BJD drops some MLA or MP aspirants, they queue up before BJP.

Political observers read more to the PM's victory prediction today to a question from Kendrapara, when recently BJD supremo has fielded cine star Anubhav Mohanty opposite former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda.  The declaration of PM is seen as a message to BJP workers here, feel political observers.

Observers feel the allegory of Tripura here has its own import. Because, prior to the Tripura Assembly elections, the then ruling CPM government had won a thumping majority in Tripura panchayat elections. Political observers then had written off BJP in Tripura. But BJP stumped all by recording two-third majority in the Assembly elections held a year after the panchayat elections.

Significantly, BJP's political strength in Odisha bears a similar resemblance to Tripura. The party in many constituencies have no credible face to give a fight to the ruling BJP. Moreover, the cadre strength of BJD is far higher than BJP. In elections, cadre strength plays a clincher role. Observers feel the large-scale BJD exodus growing by the day could to a large extent be attributed to the 'BJP factor'. The pertinent fact is droppers from BJD list look BJP as an alternative to salvage their political career. And they see an opportunity to win riding on Modi factor.

Interestingly, the BJP's success story in north-eastern states like Assam and Tripura was attributed to BJP's policy of bringing in big leaders from Congress  party there. And post induction, BJP recorded a thumping victory in the two big north- eastern states.

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