Bhubaneswar: While the BJP is already being criticised at different quarters for turning the last rites of former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee into a political game play, the over-enthusiastic participation of BJD during different condolence events in the State has also raised eyebrows.
From visiting the ailing leader at AIIMS, New Delhi and Vajpayee's residence after his death besides attending his condolence meetings, BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seems to be smartly playing the 'Vajpayee card,' political observers opine.
Not just CM Naveen, BJD members across the State have been attending almost all district level condolence meetings of Vajpayee in an apparent effort to gain the goodwill of voters and political mileage. This has led to confusion and discontentment among the BJP members, said sources.
Senior Odisha Congress leader Jaydev Jena said, "The BJP never remembered Atal Ji until now and suddenly after his death, they have started all these gimmicks to win votes; but they will fail to fulfill their political motives."
Taking a dig at CM Naveen, the former OPCC chief said, "Everything that the Odisha CM does has a political motive and even attending these condolence meetings must have been with a motive. However, this will not serve any purpose."
Senior State BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said, "All those paying him (Vajpayee) their last respects must do so not merely in speeches but by following his values in real lives."
The BJD stated that people are intelligent enough to understand the political agenda behind the mega condolence event.
"All political parties have deep respect for the great leader. However, if the BJP tries to gain political mileage out of Vajpayee's death, people will definitely understand their intention," clarified Finance Minister Sashibhushan Behera.
The BJP however rubbished the allegations of politicising the death of Vajpayee for political gains.
"All these allegations are baseless. Vajpayeeji gave us a new political direction and whatever we are doing is as a mark of respect to the great soul," said Union Minister Juel Oram.