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All is not well in the Odisha BJP, battle within is tougher than the challenges from the BJD  

All is not well in the Odisha BJP, battle within is tougher than the challenges from the BJD  

By D.N. Singh 

It is an easy time for the Naveen Patnaik-led government in Odisha. To relax and breathe easy for a while, leaving the ones in the opposition camp breathless.

Things are indeed very smudgy in the Bharatiya Janata Party as it appears, so far and mainly after the poll debacle the divisions within have become more pronounced. Gaining the space of prominence is what now has become the rat-race in the saffron camp.

Not that the bickering is new but it has been there for long and after the formation of the ministry at the Centre there are a very few delights and a lot of heart-burnings.

The other day there was a ceremony in Bhubaneswar which was organised to felicitate the two union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and the debutant Pratap Sarangi. On that occasion the mirth was missing.

It was not merely by few stray jostling among  groups of supporters, engaged even in fisticuffs but what was worrisome was the cold response from some senior leaders conspicuous either by their absence or in-cognizance. It appeared like the pre-election exuberance suddenly slipping into a kind of passivity.

Five time Lok Sabha MP and former union minister Jual Oram, who was denied a re-induction in the new Union ministry was absent for which he has not bothered to cite any escape clause. Because, for a battered BJP that was nailed down to 23 assembly seats only against its slogan for Mission-120, now suffers from a credit-claim syndrome.

Who should be credited for the consolation in the shape of eight Lok Sabha seats has become an issue. “No one in Odisha can be credited but we must say that it was the Modi impact, else our party could not have done that even,” said a BJP leader requesting anonymity.

Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi, who became a minister in the Modi government, for few days enjoyed enough media focus to outweigh the image of Pradhan. But Sarangi, somehow, was placed at both ends of the political spectrum and that was his simple life style on one side and the alleged elements of his extreme communal posturing camouflaged by his professed austerity.

Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi, who had appeared a loner during the entire election process, never once appeared to be a recipient of state leaders’ help.

With whatever authority, recently, she sauntered into the chamber of the chief minister and that was not for nothing.  Her such action may not have gone well with many in the state unit.

Winning the Lok Sabha seat, virtually, without much support from the state leaders, Aparajita  Sarangi seems to have gone an extra mile to tell the local leaders that she has her own moorings to work in her favour and political observers do not hesitate to speculate that her independent posturing do signal at an eventuality where her isolation may lead her to discover comfort in the BJD ultimately.

At such a time, Pradhan’s reiteration of slogan for Mission-120 appear so shrill and vacuous.