BJP gets Odisha local poll boost, attacks Congress

New Delhi: Buoyed by its impressive run in the Odisha local polls, the BJP today launched a sharp attack on the Congress saying the eastern state is on its way to becoming “Congress-mukt” and that it has emerged as the key rival to the ruling BJD.

BJP General Secretary Arun Singh, who is also the state’s in-charge, claimed that the party’s performance is a big step towards realising its goal of putting up a good show in coastal states, which include Odisha, in the next Lok Sabha polls.

“The Odisha results show that the Congress is no longer a major player in the state, which is now almost Congress-mukt (Congress-free). We will be in power in 8 to 10 district bodies out of the total 30. It is an unprecedented performance for the BJP,” he told reporters.

Though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led BJD has maintained its pole position in the state, BJP leaders said the results show that they are is now in a position to challenge the regional outfit’s dominance.

The BJP has won over 260 ‘zila parishad’ (district councils) seats compared to the BJD’s 370 and Congress’ 48 with the results of the last phase of the five-round polls yet to be announced.

Singh attributed the party’s performance to the strengthening of its organisation and the performance of the central government.

“We grew our membership to 36 lakh from 3 lakh. We also divided our organisation in 999 mandals from the earlier 451 and all these units held regular protests to highlight the state government’s failure in providing drinking water, power, road and other facilities,” he said.

The BJP has long been a marginal player in the state but has worked there with renewed vigour following its win in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

What has been particularly impressive, Singh said, is its virtual sweep in tribal regions of Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj and Malkangiri, which are traditional Congress strongholds.

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