Will changing political equations spawn new parties in Odisha?

Bhubaneswar: With political equations changing thick and fast, many have started to speculate the formation of as many as two new parties in Odisha ahead of the crucial general elections this year. Though some leaders had made a few attempts in the later part of 2018, such endeavours did not materialise; but experts believe that the probability of new parties coming up ahead of the 2019 general elections have never been as high.

Though senior leader Damodar Rout after his expulsion from BJD had teamed up with Samatakranti party chief Braja Tripathy, and on November 23, had announced a new political party – ‘Biju Samatakranti Dal;’ the proposed coalition was short-lived. It is said that the Rout’s plans to launch a crusade against corruption received a jolt following differences with Braja Tripathy. However, this has not dissuaded Damodar Rout, who today, hinted at floating a new political party, but kept cards close to his chest.

“We have decided to float a new party with a new name in 2019 and I have that confidence. The new party will become an alternative to the present ruling dispensation,” said Rout.

Similarly, another new equation is being crammed by political pundits, taking into account senior leaders-Bijoy Mohapatra and Dilip Ray who had quit BJP last year. Though it is speculated that Ray may tilt towards BJD, Mohapatra on the other hand is believed to be on the lookout for a viable alternative and is keen to float a new party.

“For political road-map, only a week’s time is enough,” said Mohapatra.

Moreover, after quitting BJD, senior leader Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda is yet to clarify his next course of action. Panda, however, he had clearly stated that discussions are on whether he will support any party or others will support him in fighting evils like crime against women, unemployment and corruption in Odisha.

“Whether I join any party or float a new party is not the question. But I am considering all options and seeking people’s opinion on who are ready to support me in fight against the problems in Odisha,” Panda had said on December 23, 2018.

BJD on the other hand has rubbished the idea of new political parties challenging their position in the State.

“Let alone regional, two major national parties including BJP and Congress are also not in a position to give a fight to BJD,” said ruling party spokesperson, Sasmit Patra.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) Niranjan Patnaik said “Many regional parties came up and got lost. There are still many parties and I pray for their success. But in Odisha such parties have a short life span. Just wait for another two years and see what will be the fate of BJD.”