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Political Parties in Odisha Gear Up For Early Elections


25 June 2018

Ajesh Mallick


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Bhubaneswar: As the D-day of general elections-2019 are months ahead and speculations are also rife that there might be early elections to both the Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly prior to 2019, probably by the end of this year (2018), political parties in Odisha have tightened up their belts for the early polls.

While ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) led by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patanik has been reiterating that it is ever ready for any poll at any moment, its political bête noire Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and also main opposition Congress claim being all set to venture into the electoral battle field, if at all it is preponed to this year end.

The recent victory in the Bijepur by-poll has not only added another victorious feather to the cap of BJD supremo-cum-consecutively four-time Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, but has also further infused fresh lease of life in the regional satrap to take on any electoral tug of war at ease.

Despite its drubbing in the Bijepur by-poll, BJP national president Amit Shah has been visiting the State here frequently in a bid to boost up the sagging morale of his party workers and galvanise the saffron party organization here since he has already set his target of 120+ Assembly seats as an ace part of his Mission Odisha.

Similarly with the recent change of guard in Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) and experienced warhorse Niranjan Patnaik being at the helms of affairs now coordinated by three other Young Turk working presidents, the grand old national party also exudes confidence for facing the early fray well-armed.

In his media reactions, BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member said, “Media has very often discussed on the matter and the Prime Minister has also openly batted for holding early elections and simultaneous elections. In the past, even the Election Commission has also made it clear that it is ready for holding general elections in October this year. It implies, the Election Commission is prepared six months before. BJD is well aware that the Election Commission has started its preparations for the last two months.”

“Last year when correction of the voter list was made, it had been extended till October 1, 2018 instead of March 31. It means, the voter list has been corrected till October 2018. All these are being done obviously keeping in view the early elections,” he argued.

He remarked, “BJD is least bothered about early elections as we’re ready to face any exigencies.” Odisha BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said, “Whenever the elections are held, BJP is ready. What for the Election Commission has issued directive we are ignorant, but we’re ready for the fray whenever it is conducted.”

OPCC spokesperson Biswarajan Mohanty in his reactions said, “Congress is the first political party in Odisha who has already announced the AICC Screening Committee for ticket selection and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee has stolen the show for being the first party having already begun its process for the purpose. We have our Campaign Committee ready and the blue print for the election campaign is already over. If there is early election, we’re fully prepared.”

OPCC Working President Pradip Majhi also informed OMMCOM NEWS in the same confident tone and light.

On the contrary talking to OMMCOM NEWS, poll pundit and senior journalist Prabhu Kalayan Mohaptara opined, “Early election is not possible. Let me remind you of 2004 incident when early election was held while the then Vajpayee Government’s tenure was still from 2004 to 2005. The Lok Sabha election was held a year ahead. It was hoped then that the Vajpayee Government will retain power again. It wasn’t possible. Hence, I think Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not repeat the blunder.”

“BJP is mulling to hold the assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha because the States ruled by the BJP for more than one term are now losing popularity due to anti-incumbency factor. But it seems to be impossible going by the Vajpayee Government example then,” the experienced journalist reiterated.

Also Read: Odisha: EC Gears Up For General Polls, Directs Collectors To Submit Soon Poll Expenses Estimates, About Booths, Strong Rooms

Also Read: What Is The Reason Behind Amit Shah's Odisha Visit This Time?

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Pratap Keshari Deb, Spokesperson, BJD

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Golak Mohapatra, Spokesperson, BJP, Odisha

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Biswaranjan Mohanty, Spokesperson, Congress, Odisha

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Prabhu Kalyan Mohapatra, Senior Journalist, Odisha