Odisha BJP felicitates MLAs, MPs in show of strength

Bhubaneswar: It arguably could not have been a coincidence that the Odisha unit of BJP chose the same venue – the Exhibition Ground in Bhubaneswar -where Naveen took oath as CM for the fifth time, to felicitate its newly-elected MLAs and MPs of the State.

The saffron party might have failed in its Mission-120 in Odisha but it has taken giant strides as compared to the 2014 general elections and has made inroads into the ruling-BJD’s turf to claim 8 MP and 23 MLA seats in 2019. And today’s felicitation in presence of Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi was equal parts a celebration of that success and a show of strength.

After darshan of Lord Jagannath in Puri, Dharmendra Pradhan, Pratap Sarangi and all the elected MPs and MLAs were given a rousing welcome by party workers and leaders during the grand felicitation ceremony.

Senior leaders of BJP including party’s national vice president Baijayant Panda, senior leader Damodar Rout, Bijoy Mohapatra, Sambit Patra, party’s State In-charge Arun Singh were also present on the occasion.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “We should not get complacent after this performance because until a politician is not able to usher a political system under his ideology, the struggle should continue.”

Coming down hard on leaders who quit the party to join other flanks before and after the elections, Union Minister Pratap Sarangi said, “Time will never forgive them for betrayal.”

Even though the party is yet to make a review of its poll performance so far, leaders have accepted lapses that undermined the results.

But despite the results, the BJP is quite optimistic as its candidates have secured second position in as many as 81 seats and its overall vote share rose from 18 per cent in 2014 polls to 32 in 2019. Similarly, in terms of Lok Sabha results, vote share has risen from 21 per cent to 38 per cent and the party has won seven more seats this time around.

“We don’t know, but yes we have committed mistakes at some point or other. Once people feel that we are an able alternative, they will readily vote for us,” said Bhawanipatna MLA Pradipta Nayak.

Party’s Padampur candidate Pradeep Purohit who lost the elections blamed secret nexus between BJD and Congress as reason behind BJP’s failure in forming government in Odisha.

Sources said that a review of the party’s poll performance will be conducted very soon. This apart, a meeting to select the Leader of Opposition will also be held.