Elections 2019: Can the old guards take BJD by its horns in Odisha?

Bhubaneswar: Amid the clash between the BJD, BJP and the Congress in Odisha, it seems the ruling government might also have to deal with a Fourth Front in the upcoming general elections. While the political pundits have been repeatedly speaking of the Congress decreasing in power and BJP having a secret alliance with the BJD, there are speculations that senior leaders, the old guards who have left BJD, might come together as a force to form a Fourth Front to fight against the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD in the crucial polls ahead.

It was during a recent interview with a national media, when former MP Baijayant Panda hinted at the possibility of a new alliance which could stop Naveen Patnaik in the elections. However, in response, the BJD said people have always repudiated policies associated with leaders commenting against the BJD.

“Damodar Rout, Bijoy Mohapatra, Dilip Ray and many others, all the ‘Biju Parivar’ people have been mostly sidelined or shunted out. Although the BJD did extremely well last time in Odisha, about 35% of the seats it won were with very small margin. So, if there were to be a combined coalition fighting those seats, it would be a very different story in Odisha today,” Jay Panda said in the interview.

Senior leaders including Damodar Rout, Kharabela Swain and others, who are disappointed with the BJD, have also some similar plans of floating a new party to launch a crusade against the growing corruption.

“If all the senior leaders agree and join hands for the interest of the people of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik will surely face defeat in the elections,” said Dama Rout.

Founder of Samata Kranti Dal Braja Kishore Tripathy too carries a similar opinion. “Whatever he (Jay Panda) said is not wrong. A new alliance and defeat of BJD is possible. If all come together, the change people are expecting is not impossible at all,” he said.

Utkal Bharat party chief Kharavela Swain, who had also informed about such an alliance earlier, stated that all the senior leaders are discussing and things will get clear in a few days. “Together we will fight against Naveen Patnaik’s corrupt and incapable government. Chances of a new alliance are very likely,” Swain added.

Meanwhile, responding to this, the Biju Janata Dal said that such an alliance formed by leaders who have left the party will have no impact on the party. “People will reject them. People like and appreciate three things- Naveen Patnaik’s thoughts, his developmental initiatives, and crusade against corruption,” said BJD vice-president Surjya Narayan Patro.