Political scenario heats up ahead of Modi, Rahul visit to Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The political scenario in Odisha is warming as State units of both the BJP and Congress have geared up to welcome their top leaders to the State. The ruling-BJD is also ready to go with all guns blazing to heat up the battle ahead of the general elections scheduled to be held after a few months.

While the BJP camp is upbeat over welcoming PM Modi for the third time in a month with their star campaigner set to attend a function in Bolangir on January 15, party’s national president Amit Shah will make back to back trips to Odisha on January 18 and in the month of February.

While the Prime Minister took a cautious approach against the ruling BJD during Khurda visit, the tour to Baripada witnessed a suggestive tone from the leader.

All eyes are now focussed on Modi’s tone during the party’s function in Bolangir. At a time when talks over BJP-BJD secret alliance are thick in the air with PM Modi’s comments that the NDA’s door is always open for its allies, speculations are doing rounds on whether Modi will throw any light on a new political equation.

It is also being considered that during his visit to Bolangir, PM Modi might also play the western Odisha card especially on the backdrop of the party’s good performance during the last panchayat polls in the region.

“PM Modi will rake up several issues during his visit. The BJD government has failed the people of Odisha and is only concerned for gaining votes,” BJP MLA Rabi Nayak

On the other hand, after resurgence in the Hindi heartland during the recent Assembly elections, the Odisha unit of the Congress is also aiming high in view of party president Rahul Gandhi’s much-awaited visit to the State on January 25.

After much confusion, the party has finally selected Tamando ground on the outskirts of the capital city as the venue of Gandhi’s visit.The Congress president will address a public meeting besides holding discussions with representatives of HAL, farmers, cooperative society and intellectuals.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJD has also prepared its strategy.

The party will organise a farmer convention named “Krushi Odisha” at Baramunda ground on the same day of PM Modi’s visit to Bolangir.

During Modi’s visit to Baripada on January 5, the ruling pary had organised a mega convention of SHG workers in Puri.

BJD MP from Bolangir Kalikesh Singhdeo has refuted that there is no such counter-strategy from their party. “The BJD has never thought of disturbing the programme of PM Modi but we welcome them,” he said.

On the other hand, political experts have opined that the event is a strategical move by the ruling party to play down the speculations over its ties with the saffron party.