Will too many tribal leaders in Koraput spoil the broth for BJP in 2019?

Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might have designed its blue print to strengthen tribal support base in Koraput district ahead of 2019 general elections, but the presence of quite a few prominent leaders in the saffron party who have joined it of late, might prove a deterrent. For, all these leaders would vie for ticket in the next elections and it would be difficult for the party to  satisfy all.

On Tuesday former Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi- suspended from ruling BJD in March for alleged anti-party activities, joined the BJP which had taken into its folld former Congress leader Giridhar Gamang from the same district sometime back.

Since the first Lok Sabha polls in 1951, the Congress had continued to win from Koraput Lok Sabha seat till 2004 by pitting Gamang against Pangi. This wining spree was broken when in 2009 Jayaram Pangi of the BJD defeated Giridhar by a margin of over 90,000 votes.

Given that their individual support base in the district has been proved as determining factors in winning votes in all the seven times both were pitted against each other, political pundits say it will be a tough time for the BJP to handle the situation.

To make the situation worse for the party, Siba Shankar Ulaka, son of late Ramachandra Ulaka, the eight time MLA and a member of Parliament twice, had joined BJP in 2014, three years after the death of his father. Ulaka could not encash the Modi wave in his constituency in 2014, but it will be individual candidate’s performance at the hustings that would decide the fate of other candidates in 2019.

Besides, being a former Congress leader and the son of the popular tribal leader Ramachandra Ulaka, Siba Shankar may cut heavily into the Congress vote bank.

However all the leaders have denied to such speculations and said that they will work unitedly for the growth of the party.

“He (Pangi) is like one of my family members. I don’t see any rivalry between us,” Gamang stated.

Pangi, too spoke in the same line.

“We have fought many times head to head. But on personal level we are very close to each other,” Pangi noted.

However, the saffron party will rely on improved performance of the candidate in the region, before taking a call during ticket distribution.