Growth of OJM and poll results in Karnataka worry the BJD chief

Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik is a busy man now. As the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections get closer, Mr. Patnaik has started working overtime to strengthen the party organisation with a view to win the polls for the fourth consecutive term.

Mr. Patnaik has already appointed 17 Ministers and senior party leaders as senior observers to look after the party’s organisational matters for different districts.

The BJD president’s worries have multiplied after the announcement of the results of the Karnataka polls where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a massive defeat. Mr. Patnaik was also worried over the growth of the Odisha Jan Morcha headed by Rajya Sabha Member Pyarimohan Mohapatra.

Mr. Mohapatra, who launched the Jan Morcha after his ouster from the BJD, has been critical of Mr. Patnaik as well as his government.

Mr. Mohapatra has predicted a hung Assembly in the State and a BJD-OJM alliance government, but without Mr. Patnaik as Chief Minister after the next elections.

On the other hand, main opposition Congress had started strengthening its organisation. The party has been campaigning against Mr. Patnaik’s anti-Centre campaign and blaming the State government for poor utilisation of Central funds. To add to Mr. Patnaik’s worries, a large number of posters with slogans against Mr. Patnaik were found pasted on the public walls in different parts of the Capital city on Sunday. The posters indicated to have been sponsored by Utkal University Students’ Union, a Congress-backed organisation.

BJP activities

The Bharatiya Janata Party too had started activities with a view to regain its lost ground creating further trouble for the BJD.

The Chief Minister was also not sure of the effect the numerous welfare schemes, including lowering of the price of rice for the below poverty line families from Rs. 2 to Rs. 1, would have an impact on the voters when the Lok Sabha and the Assembly polls are held. The rice at Rs. 2 per kilo scheme had helped BJD win the 2009 polls.

Besides, the process had also started for the formation of another new regional political party called Samata Kranti Dal, which could further affect the BJD’s vote bank.

With many of the BJD legislators losing their popularity and absence of an experienced political manager, Mr. Patnaik may have to search for a new poll plank to make it to the Chief Minister’s post yet again.