Polls To 4 Rajya Sabha Seats On March 26

Is Modi’s Package Declaration A Political Gimmick To Counter Naveen’s Schemes?

12 January 2019

Debashish Maharana

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Bhubaneswar: With the general elections (both for Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly) a few months ahead, political tug of war has begun among the contenders Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

As BJP is eying Odisha this time and has set its target of Mission 120+ for this State, the saffron party is found leaving no stones unturned to wrest power and also to increase its quota of MP seats from the present lone one out of the total 21 in which BJD has won 20 even amid the much-hyped ‘Modi magic’ during the 2014 elections.

Due to this reason, BJP’s poster boy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been visiting Odisha repeatedly since last year. While he visited Odisha four times last year, his visit is going to be twice in close succession even in the initial month of this year.

His visits are also marked with package of projects, be it inauguration or laying foundation.

Poll pundits are of the view that Modi has realized well that his political rhetoric won’t work to counter Naveen Patnaik in Odisha. Hence, his repeated visits to Odisha are seen announcements of package in shape of inauguration and laying of foundation stones of slew of projects dubbed as pro-people schemes and programmes to counter BJD supremo and four-time Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s numerous welfare schemes already being implemented for the people.

Senior journalist Rabi Das said, “The impression of package for Odisha is being made. Earlier also, the same thing happened during his (Modi’s) Talcher and Jharsuguda visits. During his every visit, the slogan is ‘Purbodaya’, advertisements are released, some programmes are announced, laying of foundation stones of some or inauguration of some projects are done.”

He viewed, “Generally it is being seen that the projects like the IIT and others are not new for the people of Odisha. They are already here or the work was begun much earlier. On the other hand, Naveen Patnaik is announcing some new schemes and programmes. For instance, KALIA or the recent steps for the women. People want to see what they are directly connected with or reaping the benefits. Let’s take the example of Ujjwala scheme. Some people have been benefitted. But, when the question of second refilling arises, it is pinching the beneficiaries.”

The senior journalist argued, “All schemes (of Modi) don’t have direct effect or influence on the people. Take the example of IIT. It is a sprawling campus, a large project. But, the campus was already there and for the new campus land had been allotted and the construction work had already begun during the stint of the previous Government at the Centre. Naveen Patnaik is implementing schemes having direct influence on the people as they are being directly benefitted. Similar is the case of the women SHGs.”

“Hence, Narendra Modi has to make some new schemes to counter Naveen Patnaik,” the political observer remarked.

Another senior journalist Prabhu Kalyan Mohapatra said, “The repeated visits of Modi to Odisha, 2-3 times in a month, are undoubtedly in view of the elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has noticed that the popularity of Naveen Patnaik is yet on the peak in comparison to other parties and leaders. The reason is the people-centric programmes, the announcement of welfare schemes and their implementations. Be it KALIA Scheme or various benefits to the SHGs. Other schemes and programmes are also meant for the poor people and the underprivileged of the society.”

“Such an exercise by Naveen Patnaik is certainly taking aback the Congress and BJP. It is because, they (Congress and BJP) were in power hadn’t taken such people-centric programmes. Lots of criticism is being hurled at Naveen Babu for doing those things prior to the polls. But, those programmes and schemes are obviously meant for the poor and underprivileged of the society. Hence, his (Naveen’s) popularity is intact,” he opined.

He commented, “The opposition (BJP or Congress) has no such things to counter Naveen Babu’s schemes and programmes. Thus, Narendra Modi has planned for such package during his visits here.”

BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra in his reactions said, “Elections are three months ahead. For the last four and half years, BJP was least bothered about development package. Odisha’s legitimate demand was absolutely rejected by the Centre. Hence, it is extremely ridiculous on the part of BJP to talk about development.”

He opined, “Had they been truly concerned about development, work should have been done for Coastal Highway, should have supported Odisha in Mahanadi and Polavaram issues, should have increased 1.5 times of MSP. Should not have curtailed funds for 33 yojanas and 8 yojanas should not have been closed. Should have enacted the BRGF and KBK yojanas.”

He lampooned, “Nothing was done. But when the elections are round the corner, such exercises are in place. This is not development package, it is package of foundation stones. Lots of foundations have been laid like this for the last four and half years. Nothing has been materialized. For example IIT, eight batches of graduation already over. Then what for this inauguration?”

“People of Odisha understand it all well and give a fitting reply in 2019. Naveen Babu is well-known as a ‘Bikash Purush’ both nationally and internationally. He proves it through actions not in words. Better late than never. BJP has now realized that development package can only counter Naveen Babu’s developmental schemes,” he quipped.

Also Read: ‘KALIA’ Beneficiaries To Get Monetary Assistance From Jan 26: Odisha Cooperation Minister

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Rabi Das, Senior Journalist

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Prabhu Kalyan Mohapatra, Senior Journalist

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Sasmit Patra, Spokesperson, BJD