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Is NaMo's tea warm enough in Odisha?
Bhartiya Janta Party Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a rally in Sambalpur district of Odisha on March 14. Sambalpur is in western part of the state. If we look at history of the western Odisha, we will find that it is not a strong hold even of the ruling party Biju Janta Dal led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Western Odisha has 10 Lok Sabha seats out of total 21. In 2009 general elections, out of these 10 seats, Congress won on six seats- Bargarh, Sundargarh (ST), Sambalpur, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur (ST) and Koraput (ST) while BJD bagged four seats- Bolangir, Kandhmal, Aska and Berhampur. BJP failed to get even a single seat while BJD won on 13, Congress on seven and CPI on one out of total 21 seats.

Even in 2009 Assembly election, BJP could bag only six seats out of 147 (it fielded 145 candidates) while BJD easily secured majority leaving Congress with only 27 seats. Both, BJP and Congress, doesn’t seem to have that kind of leadership in the state which will uplift them against a very strong rival like BJD.

BJP has decided to run alone in upcoming Lok Sabha race in the state saying that it does not want to fall in the situations like 2009 when BJD broke its alliance with BJP accusing it of Kandhmal riots. Party state President K V Singhdeo denied alliance with Odisha Jan Morcha. BJP is trying to thrive on the wings of NaMo which has so far failed to make any impact in Odisha.

Recent state ULB and Rajya Sabha poll results showed BJP in poor condition where either it got very little or failed completely. Out of four Rajya Sabha seats, BJD won three and Congress one though BJP had voted in favour of BJD candidate, a failed attempt to stop Congress from winning that one seat. Though the NaMo's Bhubaneswar rally reportedly gathered a crowd of nearly two lakh people and so does RaGa’s rally and Naveen’s every rally in any part of the state.

The recent floor crossing activity in the state has made BJD stronger as Odisha opposition leader Bhupinder Singh and Congress legislature party secretary Anup Sai have joined BJD. This has deteriorated Congress prospect and also has weakened BJP's stand against BJD.

This time, Odisha has got 17 lakh new voters out of which nearly 10 lakh are first time voters. Modi has successfully lured a part of younger generation in urban areas. It will be important to see whether he will be able to grab the attention of Odia youth and elders to boost his party’s prospect in upcoming elections. 

NaMo’s tea is still cold in the state and BJP rigorously need a 'thermos' to keep it warm for quite a long time.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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