Naveen’s CM poser, Dharmendra’s ‘sop-opera’: An attempt to press ‘score’ button!

BJD so far has never given a damn on CM candidate of other parties as the ruling party was relishing on the fact of 'there is no alternative' (TINA) to Naveen in Odisha politics.

Bhubaneswar: Odisha politics  witnessed a mutagenic turn of events on Saturday, when CM Naveen Patnaik for the first time in last 19-years made lack of CM candidate of an opposition party a big poll issue this elections.

Why this is significant because, BJD so far has never given a damn on CM candidate of other parties as the ruling party was relishing on the fact of ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA) to Naveen in Odisha politics.

Political observers believe the raking of ‘Who is BJP’s CM candidate in Odisha’ looks to be a reconciliation by the BJD to the fact that BJP has now emerged as its main contender in polls 2019. Recognising the tough challenge at hand, BJD strategists have redrawn their campaign work-out and the result is Naveen has raised the ‘weak-point’ of BJP during yesterday’s public meeting at Daspalla. Moreover, here too BJD planners tried to drive home the point that there is no alternative (TINA) to Naveen in Odisha.

The interesting feature in the 2019 polls is BJD strategists are working overtime to keep the campaigning pot boiling on issues surrounding CM Naveen Patnaik’s persona. But the watch out factor here is they didn’t follow the orthodox way of campaigning. The case in point here is popping out of Naveen’s ‘fitness’ frame and an interview, just a few days before the first phase polls.

Political observers viewed this as BJD’s deliberate strategy to keep the polls 2019 focussed on Naveen Patnaik, his health and the ‘conspiracy’ and  to cook up an emotive connect with voters.

However, post the first phase polls it seems a realisation has dawned on the BJD that BJP is surging in a big way in many constituencies that went to poll on April 11. Alarmed BJD, akin to a one-day cricket match, changed its track and latched on to BJP’s  loose deliveries to accelerate its scoring in coming phases. The BJD campaign planners brought up a strategy to drive home the point that BJP has no alternative match to Naveen’s image. Afterall, BJD’s best bet is Naveen. The party is making every effort to resurrect the TINA factor to sail through the 2019 polls, they observe.

Meanwhile, another significant poll event has been the recent announcement of sops  by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan at a poll meeting in Cuttack Lok sabha constituency.

Union Minister Pradhan promised to implement the Chhattisgarh model of PDS, whereby under NFSA, beneficiaries will avail Re1-a-kilo rice, dal and salt. Besides, he promised that if voted to power BJP will enhance salary of aangawadi workers to Rs 15,000, loan waiver for SHGs et al.

Such announcements making  a debut now has raised many an eyebrow as the party had already released its manifesto a few days ago.

Political observers read Pradhan’s  gambit as a score accelerator by the BJP for the coming phases. With a host of ‘doles’, the party on one hand  tried  to stoke interest among the voters to not only maintain the tempo of first phase polls but also to accelerate BJP’s score-rate in the upcoming phases. The party could have announced so in its manifesto, but many believe it a deliberate campaign strategy by saffron party to hoist so in later phases and make it a talk of the town.

When BJD and BJP are working out to pull a fast one on the other in campaign strategies to win the polls 2019,  a significant observation is the Congress party slipping to status of limbo. Ground reports from first phase polls suggest seemingly a redux of 2017 rural polls in Odisha in 2019.