Elections 2019: BJD, BJP in race to win hearts of Prabasi Odias in Surat

Bhubaneswar: With general elections nearing, the BJD and the BJP seem to be trading blows in almost every other issue now. Now they are in a battle to win the trust of prabasi Odias staying in Surat.

On September 2 & 3, local Odia Samaj is set to organise Odia festivals in Surat which will be attended by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

However, seeing the rising popularity of BJP among the Odias in Surat, BJD seems to have chalked out a counter-strategy.

Last week, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urged Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to introduce direct flights between Bhubaneswar and Surat. Besides, Naveen today urged the Centre to introduce two daily trains between Berhampur city in Odisha and Surat.

Such demands of Patnaik after over 18 years of his stint as the CM are seen as politically-motivated to win the heart of Odias residing in the Silk City of the country.

Moreover, three MLAs from Ganjam district recently visited Surat and spoke to Odias about their problems. CM Naveen is also scheduled to visit the city in the next couple of months.

However, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said that there is no such competition and all should be serious about the problems being faced by Odias working outside the State.

“There’s no problem or competition in being concerned about the transportation and other facilities of our own people residing outside,” said Patra.

However, Odisha BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra slammed Naveen over migration of people from Odisha to neighbouring states and said, “Had the CM been serious about the plight of Odias, people in such a large number would not have gone outside the State in search of work. He (CM Naveen) can prove his feelings for Odias by bringing in all those people and giving them work here only.”

On the other hand, Senior Odisha Congress leader Sura Routray said that the seeming competition between the BJD and the BJP is just eyewash as both are in a secret alliance.

Over seven lakh people from Odisha are presently staying in Surat with highest from the CM’s own district- Ganjam.