NDA government’s ‘Look East’ policy

Bhubaneswar: Call it a political strategy or a mere coincidence, the Odisha visit of more than half a dozen senior BJP leaders including union ministers in last one week to highlight the NDA government’s one-year anniversary achievements, is seen as strengthening and expanding its base in the eastern states of the country.

“It’s loud and clear that the NDA government led by prime minister Narendra Modi wants to make the eastern region of the country as the party’s stronghold in the coming years. States including Odisha, Bihar and West Bengal are in party’s action plan where it hopes to make a change in leadership in the next general elections,“ said a political analyst.

A combined attack from the senior leaders taking issues of big ticket projects like Posco has renewed the political onslaught against the BJD government in Odisha.

When petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan addressing a press meet stated that the State government must clear its stand on the steel project, union parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said the BJD leaders should seriously take up the issue with the Centre.

Similarly, union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her recent visit to the state capital blamed the Odisha government for uncertainty over the Posco steel plant project in Jagatsinghpur district.

“The state owes an answer on Posco, not the Centre,” Sitharaman said when asked about the inordinate delay in commissioning of the project.

Highlighting the Narendra Modi government’s achievements in its first year, Sitharaman rejected the BJD allegation of reduced financial allocation to the State under NDA-II.

“Before alleging central neglect and lower allocation, one must do one’s homework right,” she said.
“Odisha will get an additional Rs 11,2677 crore from the Centre in the next five years. In central allocation, the State’s share has gone up from 38% during the previous government to 42% now.”

Besides, the saffron party has also trained its guns on the Naveen-led BJD government on issues like IIM alleging it failed to finalise a location for the B-school.

Pradhan on the issue said that the State government should not indulge in politics over finalising its proposed campus site.

The party’s senior leaders like Arun Singh, Mahesh Sharma and union minister Jual Oram during their recent trip have also criticised the State government for failing to meet the interest of the State.

“The NDA government does not want to loose a chance in States like Odisha where it foresees a little effort can yield a very shining result,” stated the analyst.