‘Resurrection’ in mind, Kharbela dons saffron cap again!

BJD government is making every effort to keep Odisha poor by giving piecemeal doles; a national party like BJP under PM Modi's leadership is best suited to bring an end to the 'corrupt' BJD rule

Bhubaneswar: German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer had said “Every reunion is a hint of resurrection.” And it seems BJP and Kharbela Swain have taken the words of Schopenhauer a tad seriously.

Both, in a bid to ‘ resurrect’ an alternative to challenge the incumbent Naveen-led BJD Government in the upcoming 2019 elections, have reunited. And the BJP has made Swain its face in Kandhamal to take on BJD’s Achyuta Samanta.

Burying the bitter past, Swain, while joining party in presence of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday, made it very clear that a national party of BJP’s stature has the wherewithal to challenge ‘corrupt’ BJD government in 2019 elections.

“Utkal Bharat is a small regional outfit. Though we worked tirelessly to defeat ‘corrupt’ BJD government that is making every effort to keep Odisha poor by giving piecemeal doles, a national party like BJP under PM Modi’s leadership is best suited to bring an end to the ‘corrupt’ rule. As BJP has taken the initiative to oust the BJD government, I deemed it right to join BJP,” said Swain.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, whom Kharbela Swain recently blamed for making him quit BJP, welcomed Swain and called him a principled politician in Odisha.  “Kharbela is non-compromising and a courageous leader. BJP has never considered Swain an outsider as ideologically and on nationalism, we are one,” said Pradhan.

Known to capture the essence of candour, integrity, sincerity and the fighting spirit in Odisha’s political sphere, Kharbela Swain, who quit lucrative Indian Railway Service (IRS) job for politics, had joined the saffron party in early nineties. Swain became a MP on BJP ticket from Balasore for the period of 1998 – 2009, and was also deputy chief whip of the BJP in Lok Sabha from 2004 -2009. Swain those days was considered close to BJP patriarch LK Advani.  He represented Balasore constituency.

Though he is known as a dogged-fighter, Swain has a tough battle at hand in Kandhamal. Of the seven assembly segments, BJP had a lead in Baliguda, G Udaygiri and Phulbani in 2009. The party lost vote share in 2014 elections. However, in 2017 rural polls, BJP re-gained its mojo in Phulbani, G-Udayagiri and Raikia and had won four zilla parishads vis-a-vis nine by BJD. It seems the party has fielded clean-image Kharbela in Kandhamal to reclaim the dominance of 2008-09.

BJD has increased its total votes polled since 2014. From around 32 per cent, the party in 2014 had polled over 50 per cent votes. And in the by-election, BJD’s vote share increased to a whopping 61 per cent. Significantly, BJP had also posted a hefty hike in its vote share to around 25 per cent. The Congress party has seen sharp erosion in its vote base in 2014 and by-election later. Christian community play a kingmaker role in around 3 constituencies, and the traditional Congress vote base has shifted allegiance to BJD. Swain has his task cut out as BJP eyes Kui tribes, the majority population, in Kandhamal by raking up corruption issue.