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BJP trying to split BJD, have early polls in Orissa: Tathagata Satpathy

Akash Bisht | Updated on: 27 March 2017, 23:09 IST
(PTI)

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Tathgata Satpathy has claimed that BJP is trying to split his party and accused one MP of trying to swing the deal. In a series of tweets Satpathy alleged that the saffron party is trying to take away BJD's name and symbol, and working hard to create a divide in Parliament and even in the Assembly.

“BJP hard at work to divide @bjd_odisha in Parliament, maybe even in Assembly. They want AIADMK type split,” Sathpathy tweeted. Thereafter, without naming any individual he tweeted, “They want to take away party name and and symbol. Rumors are afloat that only one MP will swing this deal for them.”

He went on to add that the central government will try for an early election in Orissa with Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, and it remains to be seen whether the EC would oblige. “If split happens, no matter how small, BJP will try for early elections in Orissa with Raj, Guj, MP. Will EC play along?” he said.

Questioning the BJP's decision to hold party's national convention,in Orissa which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he tweeted that the intention is to put pressure on the state government and make it defunct. Taking pot shots at the prime minister, Sathpathy tweeted, “I promise to pay the bearer...’ Modi broke nation’s promise. BJP says ‘I promise to pay defector with new cash and ticket.”

 

When someone on Twitter sought comments of BJD MP Baijayant Panda on the issue, he replied, “He speaks w/ expertise, having once been suspended from BJD & joined another party. I don't have such experience, so will defer to his.”

BJP's stellar performance in the recently held panchayat elections was a clear indicator of the party expanding base in the coastal state. The party registered an improvement of 850% winning 270 more seats than its previous outing in 2012 civic polls.

Sensing an opportunity to take over the reigns of the state from Naveen Patnaik, who has been the chief minister for the last 17 years, BJP is hoping that a split could further weaken the BJD before the 2019 Assembly polls. In fact, the idea of advancing the elections could be part of that strategy. Orissa goes to polls in 2019 and experts believe that BJP President Amit Shah and his team would not be able to dedicate their full attention to Orissa if Assembly polls are held along with the Lok Sabha polls and it would be better to hold them with other states.

How turncoats helped BJP

Ever since BJP won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, its strategists have been working overtime to woo leaders from other political parties to further its political ambitions. The recent Assembly election victories in Uttarakhand and Manipur are a case in point after BJP poached top Congress leaders who helped the party in forming the government in the two states. In fact, Manipur CM Nongthombam Biren Singh was earlier with Congress and considered to be the right-hand man of the former Congress CM Okram Ibobi Singh.

In Uttarakhand, five of the nine ministers sworn in with the chief ministers were previously with Congress. Moreover, BJP won 12 of the 14 seats where it fielded Congress rebels in Uttarakhand. Even in Goa, the Congress backed independents took no time to switch to the BJP which helped the latter in forming the government despite being second to the Congress on the number of seats won.

Even in Arunachal Pradesh, BJP succeeded in destabilising the Congress government after 43 of its legislators went on to join the saffron party's coalition partner Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA). Within a month, 34 of these legislators joined the BJP leaving PPA with only 10 MLAs.

Moreover, in February 2017, BJP continued with its efforts to rope in local level leaders and Congress suffered yet another setback after 549 elected panchayat members from East Kameng district, mostly from the grand old party, joined the BJP.

In 2015, BJP succeeded in wooing one of Congress' brightest mind in the north-east – Himanta Biswa Sarma – who has been instrumental in helping the saffron party become a dominant political force in the region. Ever since Sarma joined BJP, he has been able to give three states to the saffron party in a region where it had very little support. Recently, veteran Congress leader from Karnataka SM Krishna resigned from the party to join BJP just months before the state goes to polls.

These are clear indications of how BJP wants to conquer one state after another, especially where it has minimum or no stakes. And only time will tell whether BJD will suffer a similar fate as the Congress.

First published: 27 March 2017, 23:09 IST
 
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